China‘s provocative probing of Taiwan‘s defenses showed no signs of let-up Sunday as the island’s defense ministry reported that 19 People’s Liberation Army aircraft — including bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons — flew through its airspace Sunday.
A Taiwanese Ministry of Defense tweet said the incursion included four PLA H-6 bombers, which can deliver nuclear bombs, as well as 10 J-16 fighters and four Su-30 fighters.
Taiwanese officials said the island democracy’s combat aircraft were deployed to warn away the Chinese planes and the country’s missile defense systems closely monitored the incursion.
Beijing has stepped up its rhetorical and military pressure campaign on the island, which China‘s communist government considers part of its sovereign territory which must one day be reunited with the mainland.
China‘s official press made no mention of the operation early Sunday, but Beijing has often timed such missions to express displeasure with Taiwanese actions or moves by the United States to boost bilateral ties.
It has already been a record year for such Chinese incursions into Taiwan‘s claimed defensive airspace, with nearly 400 such sorties flown through mid-August, according to Taiwan Defense Ministry statistics.
Last month, 11 Chinese military aircraft conducted what Beijing described as “live-fire assault drills” just south of Taiwan.
A Taiwanese military draft paper last week warned that China now has the capability to monitor all Taiwanese military deployments and could potentially “paralyze” the island’s military communications networks through “soft and hard electronic attacks.”