A Taiwan-government report has claimed that the number of Chinese incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) last year was the highest since 1996, during Taiwan Strait missile crisis.
Jets operated by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered Taiwan’s ADIZ on 91 days from January 1 to November 30. Furthermore, year also saw the highest number of long-distance training missions by the Chinese military around Taiwan Institute for National Defense and Security Research said in a report.
PLA has reportedly flown 380 sorties into the southwest ADIZ, where median line of the Taiwan Strait does not extend into, in 2020.
Twenty-five years ago, China conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in the waters around Taiwan in the run-up to the nation’s first direct presidential election.
The report alleged that the increase in the number of PLA encroachments are due to thawing of Taiwan-U.S. relations and the latter’s military presence near the conflict area.
Beijing could be attempting to expand its sphere of influence; deter Taiwanese and U.S. submarine activity in the region; and exert pressure on Taipei’s defenses on the Pratas (Dongsha) Islands in the South China Sea.
The institute, affiliated with the ministry, said China was using marine patrol aircraft to collect underwater and other related information in the area, which is the main passageway for vessels and submarines entering the western Pacific.
On the bright side, the report said, was that the intrusions could offer Taiwan certain advantages - such as increasing the legitimacy of U.S. sales of offensive weapons to Taiwan.