The Ministry of National Defense of Taiwan reported that no less than eighteen Chinese military aircraft crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait on September 18, 2020. As a response, fighter jets were scrambled for an interception.
An air group composed of two Xian H-6 strategic bombers with their escort of J-16 fighters approached the island of Taiwan by the southwest and entered the nation’s air defense identification zone. Several other fighter formations that included more J-16 fighters, four J-10 fighters, and four J-11 fighters also flew towards the island from the northwest.
As a response, the Taiwanese Air Force (ROCAF) issued radio warnings. Fighters, most likely F-16s, were scrambled to intercept and escort the military aircraft away. Air defense missile systems were deployed to monitor the activities.
Sep. 18, two H-6 bombers, eight J-16 fighters, four J-10 fighters and four J-11 fighters crossed the midline of the #TaiwanStrait and entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ. #ROCAF scrambled fighters, and deployed air defense missile system to monitor the activities. pic.twitter.com/sGaxXlO0BT— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. (@MoNDefense) September 18, 2020
Chinese incursions past the strategic central line of the Taiwan Strait are frequent. China does not recognize the sovereignty of Taiwan and thus considers the Strait as part of its territorial waters. To help Taiwan protect its sovereignty, the United States government could soon sell over $7 billion in weapons, including surveillance drones, sea mines, and cruise missiles, according to sources close to the matter.
On September 4, 2020, an alarming report emerged on Chinese social media, claiming that Taiwan had shot down a fighter jet of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), believed to be either a Sukhoi Su-35 or a Chengdu J-10, while infringing on Taiwan airspace. The information was denied by the Taiwanese Air Force Command, and the alleged crash site was located about 900 kilometers (550 miles) away from the island.