Beijing steps up use of combat aircraft in Taiwan sorties
Beijing: Beijing has steadily increased the number of combat aircraft flying into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone and further south in the Bashi Channel which analysts have described as part of its efforts to expand its reach around the island, media reports said on Monday.
According to Taiwan’s defence ministry, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted 555 sorties in the first six months of the year, of which 398 involved combat aircraft, compared with 187 in the same period last year, reports South China Morning Post.
These warplanes included fighter jets, bombers and attack helicopters.
Beijing sees Taiwan as a breakaway province.
Taiwan considers itself to be an independent nation.
“In the past, the PLA’s air training and other missions in the region mostly involved slow-flying support planes, including reconnaissance and early warning aircraft,” Wang Kung-yi, director of Taiwan International Strategic Study Society, a Taipei-based think tank, told South China Morning Post.