Taiwan warns Chinese aircraft in its air defense zone

A map provided by Taiwan's Defense Ministry shows where Chinese warplanes entered its air defense identification zone on Thursday.

Taipei (Reuters)Taiwan's air force scrambled again on Thursday to warn away nine Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense identification zone, Taiwan's Defense Ministry said, on the same day that Russia invaded Ukraine, a crisis being watched closely in Taipei.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained of regular such missions by the Chinese air force over the last two years, though the aircraft do not get close to Taiwan itself.
The number of aircraft involved was well off the last large-scale incursion, 39 Chinese aircraft on Jan. 23, and since then, such fly-bys have been sporadic with far fewer aircraft.
    The ministry said the latest mission involved eight Chinese J-16 fighters and one Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft, which flew over an area to the northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the top end of the South China Sea.
      Taiwanese fighters were sent up to warn the Chinese aircraft and air defense missiles were deployed to "monitor the activities," the ministry said, using standard wording for how Taiwan describes its response.
      Taiwan has been warily watching the Ukraine crisis, nervous that China may try to take advantage to move on the island.
      While Taipei has not reported any unusual movements by Chinese forces, the government has increased its alert level.
        China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, and routinely condemns US arms sales or other shows of support from Washington.