Taiwan scrambled its own fighter jets on Sunday as China launched its biggest incursion into the self-ruled island's air defence zone since October
Representation. Taiwanese troops scrambling its fighter jets to counter Chinese incursion into its air defense zone. AFP / Sam Yeh


  • Most of the 446 Chinese planes that crossed into Taiwan's airspace in August were fighter jets
  • The Chinese air force's planes have made a total of 1,098 incursions into Taiwan so far this year, according to a report
  • Chinese ships and aircraft reportedly are crossing over the Taiwan Strait's median line "virtually every day"

Chinese aircraft made a record number of incursions into Taiwan's airspace last month, according to reports.

About 446 Chinese planes — mostly fighter jets — crossed into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in August, The Defense Post reported, citing a database compiled by AFP based on figures released by Taiwan's defense ministry.

Planes from China's air force, the People's Liberation Army Air Force, have allegedly made a total of 1,098 incursions into Taiwan's ADIZ so far this year, a report by the South China Morning Post said.

Chinese aircraft reportedly made 380 and 972 sorties in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

It is possible that more incursions have happened in the past as Taiwan's military is not required by law to disclose all Chinese activity, according to Wen-ti Sung, a political scientist at Australian National University's Taiwan Studies Program.

"There are good reasons why the government may choose not to disclose or disclose in full, because it may be potentially escalatory, forcing our side to also escalate," he told the Voice of America via email.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense started sharing more detailed daily descriptions of Chinese air and sea activity in and around the country's territory in early August, according to the outlet.

This was around the same time U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, which made her the highest-ranking American official to visit the country since then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited in 1997.

Following Pelosi's visit, China sent warships, missiles and fighter jets into the water and skies around Taiwan in what was reportedly its largest and most aggressive exercises since the mid-1990s.

The previous busiest month for Chinese incursions prior to August was October last year, which saw 196 sorties.

China has allegedly begun to whittle away at the Taiwan Strait's median line, a border that has long been seen as a way to avoid conflict in the water passage.

Chinese ships and aircraft are now flying over the median line "virtually every day," Bonnie Glaser of the German Marshall Fund of the United States told VOA by email.

"The PRC (People's Republic of China) has erased the center line of the Strait. They are seeking wear to down Taiwan's pilots and maintenance crews and instill a sense of psychological despair among the population," Glaser, who is the director of the think tank's Asia program, said.

China will likely continue more exercises with the goal of "narrowing Taiwan's operating space and calling into question its claim to an ADIZ and an [excluisive economic zone]," she claimed.

This file handout image released in May 2018 by Taiwan's defence ministry shows a Taiwanese F-16 fighter jet monitoring a Chinese H-6 bomber
Representation. This file handout image released by Taiwan's defence ministry shows a Taiwanese F-16 fighter jet monitoring a Chinese bomber TAIWAN DEFENCE MINISTRY / Handout