Chinese fighter plane enters Taiwan air space

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New Delhi (NVI): A Chinese fighter plane briefly entered Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) today, the local media reported, highlighting the increasing Chinese military activity in the region.

Reports indicate a continuation of recent incursions by China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) off Taiwan’s southwest coast.

Without naming the type of aircraft, the Ministry of National Defence confirmed a Chinese jet entered the ADIZ around noon Friday and had been warned off by a Taiwan plane, the Central News Agency (CNA) of Taiwan reported.

Separately, three fighter jets of the United States made sorties over the Bashi Channel separating Taiwan from the Philippines.

Beijing University’s “South China Sea Probing Initiative” mentioned that during the morning, an EP-3E surveillance aircraft had flown over the Bashi Channel in the direction of the South China Sea, according to Taiwan News.

It was followed by a US Navy P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft and a KC-135 refueling plane, the Chinese Twitter account was quoted by the Taiwan News.

The Chinese military has increased its activity around Taiwan recently, prompting a wary Taiwan to step up its military preparedness, including through deployment of assets to prevent Chinese troops from entering by sea.

China is reportedly eyeing the Dongsha Islands of Taiwan, which are a group of strategically important atolls 310 kms southeast of Hong Kong. Taiwan has deployed its Marine Corps to the islands for training and defence.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND), Chinese military aircraft have flown into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone nine times this month.

As part of the preparedness, the Taiwan Navy has held an exercise to hone its skills in mine warfare. Its Minesweeper Fleet conducted drills on deploying, detecting and sweeping for sea mines in strategic waters around Taiwan, according to the CNA.

At least one of the mines used in the drills was indigenously-developed WSM-II, it said.

The exercise, aimed at improving the Navy’s capabilities in deterring hostile naval vessels from invading Taiwan, came at a time when the Chinese military is becoming more active around Taiwan, the CNA report said.

Quoting an unnamed high-ranking military officer, CNA reported that the MND has made the acquisition of new-generation smart mines and fast minelayers a priority.

This is to increase the Navy’s ability to block Chinese troops from landing in Taiwan by sea during war, said the officer, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

A smart mine is capable of distinguishing and selecting its target through sophisticated sensors, posing a threat to enemies but keeping Taiwan’s troops safe, he said.

On the other hand, a fast minelayer can shorten the time needed to deploy mines, effectively disrupting enemies’ pace of attack and operation plans, he said.

The officer said Taiwan needs to develop more smart mines that fit the country’s needs, especially in shallow water areas, as the existing mines are mostly designed against deepwater vessels but not shallow water ones, such as amphibious vehicles and hovercraft.

He also suggested that Taiwan should build more fast minelayers or equip all Navy ships under construction with build-in mine tracking to enable them to lay mines in times of emergency, as the present practice of commissioning fishing boats to do the job is unreliable.