Taiwan accuses China of second airspace breach, simulating attack

Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense claims Chinese bombers and fighters breached its airspace on September 19, 2020, entering the country’s territory in a pincer movement and prompting Taiwan to scramble its own jets.

Two H-2 strategic bombers and one Y-8 transport plane, escorted by J-16 fighters, crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait south of the island, while two J-16s and several more J-10s entered from the north. Meanwhile, two J-11 fighters breached the line in the middle, proceeding northwest within Taiwan’s airspace and exiting it later. In total, 19 Chinese planes conducted the maneuvers, according to the Ministry.

It was China’s second incursion into Taiwan’s airspace in two days, the previous one being conducted on September 18, 2020, when a group of no less than 18 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwanese air space in a similar manner. 

In both cases, fighter jets were scrambled, while missile defense systems held Chinese planes in their sights, according to Taiwan. 

The incursions may have been prompted by a visit of the U.S. delegation, which was headed by Undersecretary of State Keith Kratch, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in four decades. While defense or border disputes were not on the table during the visit, the region’s pressing economic issues – including so-called “technology war” with Beijing – became the focus. 

China does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, regularly conducting flights in what it considers its own territorial waters.

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