Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defense zone close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands. The latest Chinese mission involved 6 J-16 and 2 J-11 fighters plus one anti-submarine and one reconnaissance aircraft, the Taiwan ministry said.
Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the ministry said. The Chinese fighters flew in an area close to the Pratas, while the anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft flew into the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines, according to a map that the ministry issued. Warships, early warning aircraft and bombers were deployed on Friday in patrols and drills aimed at improving the joint combat capabilities of China’s military in the area, a spokesman for China’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement on Saturday.