Tensions Rise, China Deploys 18 H-6 Bombers Break Through Taiwan's Defense Zone

Tensions Rise, China Deploys 18 H-6 Bombers Break Through Taiwan's Defense Zone
China Deploys 18 H-6 Bombers Break Through Taiwan's Defense Zone

Beijing - China has deployed 18 nuclear-capable bombers to Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the last 24 hours. Taiwan's Defense Ministry on Tuesday (13/12/2022) exposed Beijing's military maneuvers, just days after China banned more Taiwanese imports in the latest sign of deteriorating relations.

Democratic Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion by China, which considers the self-ruled island as part of its territory to be annexed one day. China Beijing has stepped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in Taiwan's 2016 election.

Tsai rejects claims that the island she rules is part of China. In a daily update on Tuesday morning cited by AFP, Taiwan's Defense Ministry said 21 aircraft entered the skies over the island's southwestern ADIZ over the past 24 hours, including 18 nuclear-capable H-6 bombers.

The maneuvers were by far the biggest daily "attacks" by H-6 bombers since Taipei first started releasing daily "attack" data in September 2020. The wave of bomber maneuvers came after China imposed a ban on fresh imports of food, drink, alcohol and fishery products. Taiwan last week prompted Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang to accuse Beijing of violating international trade rules and "discriminating" on the island.

The H-6 is China's primary long-range bomber and is capable of carrying a nuclear payload. It is rare for China to send more than five H-6 bombers in one day. But sorties have increased dramatically in recent weeks.

Until now, October 2021 is the month with the most number of H-6 flights recorded 16 times. But last month China sent 21 bombers to Taiwan's ADIZ. And the current tally for December is 23.

Many countries maintain the ADIZ, including the United States, Canada, South Korea, Japan and China. However, ADIZ is not the same as the airspace of a country. In contrast, the ADIZ covers a much wider area, where every foreign aircraft is expected to announce itself to the local aviation authority. Taiwan's ADIZ is much larger than its airspace. It overlaps with part of China's ADIZ and even includes some of the mainland.

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