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    China Sends Combat Aircraft Near Taiwan's 24-Mile Zone

    June 27, 2023
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    According to the Taiwanese Defense Ministry, 8 Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) warplanes came close to entering Taiwan's contiguous zone which extends 24 nautical miles off its coast.

    China has consistently been conducting shows of force in the waters and airspace surrounding Taiwan since then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited Taiwan in August. While the PLA has frequently breached the median line, an informal barrier that separates the Chinese and Taiwanese sides of the Taiwan Strait, there have not been any reports of Chinese aircraft entering Taiwan's contiguous zone.

    The Defense Ministry posted on Twitter that Taiwan's "Armed Forces detected 19 PLA aircraft (including J-10, J-16, etc.), eight of which crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and approached the 24-nautical-mile line."

    While Washington has continuously increased its support for Taipei, including deploying 200 U.S. troops to the island, China has continued to increase military pressure on Taiwan.

    Earlier this year, Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng explained that China will use Taiwan's increasing military and diplomatic relations as an excuse to further harass the island by flying closer to it. Chiu anticipated the PLA to cross over the contiguous zone if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) came to Taiwan.

    In an effort to avoid an escalation or provocation, McCarthy hosted Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California in April instead of holding the meeting in Taiwan, as originally intended. Regardless, teh meeting provoked massive Chinese military drills around the island, but they were not as large-scale or extensive as the exercises launched in response to Pelosi's visit.

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    In response to the encroachment of PLA warplanes on the island's airspace, Chiu said that if PLA planes enter the contiguous zone, Taiwan would "restrain ourselves from launching the first strike to avoid giving China an excuse to attack Taiwan."

    Chiu did confirm, however, that should Chinese planes enter Taiwan's airspace, which extends 12 nautical miles from its coast, then Taipei would send Taiwanese forces to respond.

    "We would be forced to respond should Chinese military vessels and aircraft come near or enter the nation's airspace and territorial waters, even if they are in disputed areas," Chiu concluded.



    Jen Snow

    Jen Snow is a former paralegal turned freelance writer who has a passion for foreign affairs. When not writing, she can be found curled up with her dog and a good book or outside playing in the Florida sun.
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