Taiwanese Air Force scrambles F-16 again to warn off Chinese J-11 jets

Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets are patrolling over Taiwan Straits. Source Taiwanese Air Force

Taiwan’s air force has again scrambled F-16 to warn off approaching Chinese J-11 jets and KJ-500 AEW&C, in the latest rise in military tension between Beijing and the island it claims as its own.

Taiwan has repeatedly complained that China has stepped up its drills near to the island when it should be focusing its efforts on combating the spread of the coronavirus.

China has said such exercises are to protect its sovereignty and send a warning that it will not tolerate any moves towards formal independence for Taiwan.

In the latest instance, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said late on Monday that Chinese J-11 fighters and KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft flew into the waters southwest of Taiwan for night-time exercises.

During this period, they came close to Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone, the ministry added.

“After our air reconnaissance and patrol aircraft responded appropriately, and broadcast (an order) to drive them away, the Communist aircraft flew away from our Air Defence Identification Zone.”

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