A pilot prepares to take off on a F-CK-1 Ching-kuo Indigenous Defence Fighter (IDF) at an Air Force base in Taiwan on January 26, 2021. Source: Ann Wang/Reuters.
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  • Taiwan mobilised its air force on Sunday to ward off 19 Chinese military aircraft that had flown into the country’s air defence identification zone
  • China’s mission involved 10 J-16 and four Su-30 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft
  • The last such large-scale activity, which occurred on June 15, involved 28 Chinese aircraft — the largest incursion reported by Taiwan to date
  • China maintains its activities are necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty and to address “collusion” between Taipei and Washington
  • Last week, Taiwan’s defence ministry warned that the threat from China was growing

Taiwan mobilised its air force on Sunday to ward off Chinese military activity, with its defence ministry saying 19 aircraft — including nuclear-capable bombers — had flown into the country’s air defence identification zone.

According to the ministry, China’s latest mission involved 10 J-16 and four Su-30 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, and an anti-submarine aircraft.

In response, Taiwanese combat aircraft were deployed, along with missile defence systems.

The last such large-scale activity, which occurred on June 15, involved 28 Chinese aircraft — the largest incursion reported by Taiwan to date.

China has been known to mount these missions to express displeasure at something Taiwan has done, or at shows of international support — especially by the United States, Taiwan’s main arms provider.

However, it was not clear this time what might have prompted the deployment, although a US warship and US Coast Guard cutter sailed through the Taiwan Strait last month.

China maintains its activities are necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty and to address “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.

Last week, Taiwan’s defence ministry warned that the threat from China was growing, and said its armed forces can “paralyse” Taiwan’s defences and are able to fully monitor its deployments.

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