Taiwan has detected 21 Chinese military aircraft, including Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft, and drones, of which 17 crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or its extension on Saturday morning, Taiwan News reported.

In an official post on X, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence said, “We detected activities from 21 PLA aircraft, including J-16, Y-8, and drones, since 0815 (UTC+8). 17 aircraft crossed the median line and its extension, entered our northern, central, and southwestern ADIZ, and joined PLA vessels for joint combat patrol.”

The aircraft dispatched by the Chinese military were spotted starting at 8:15 am and included Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft, and various types of unmanned aerial vehicles, the MND said, as per Taiwan News.

According to the ministry, the 17 planes either crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) off the northern, central and southwestern parts of the country, in tandem with patrolling activities carried out by Chinese military vessels in the areas.

In response to this breach done by China, MND affirmed that they are closely monitoring the situation and have “dispatched appropriate assets” to respond to the situation accordingly.

According to Taiwan News, the defence ministry had earlier tracked three Chinese military aircraft entering the median line or its extension in the 24-hour period starting at 6 am on Friday.

So far this month, Taiwan has tracked Chinese military aircraft 164 times and naval vessels 110 times. Since September 2020, China has increased its use of gray zone tactics by incrementally increasing the number of military aircraft and naval ships operating around Taiwan, Taiwan News reported on Friday.

Gray zone tactics are defined as “an effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempts to achieve one’s security objectives without resort to direct and sizable use of force.”

The median line of the Taiwan Strait served for decades as a tacit border, but the Chinese military has more flagrantly sent aircraft, warships, and drones across it since former United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022, becoming the highest-level U.S. official to visit in nearly three decades.

An ADIZ is a self-declared area in which a country claims the right to identify, locate, and control approaching foreign aircraft but is not part of its territorial airspace as defined by international law.

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