TAIPEI: China despatched 22 fighter jets throughout the “median line” working down the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, Taipei’s defence ministry mentioned in its newest briefing on large-scale navy drills carried out by Beijing’s forces. The Ministry of Nationwide Protection mentioned “air protection missile programs” have been deployed to trace the jets and radio warnings have been broadcast, in accordance with an replace on its web site. The median line is an unofficial however largely adhered to frame that runs down the center of the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China. It’s uncommon for navy jets to cross it. During the last two years, Beijing has ramped up navy incursions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ). The ADIZ just isn’t the identical as Taiwan’s territorial airspace however features a far larger space that overlaps with a part of China’s personal air defence identification zone and even contains a number of the mainland. The overwhelming majority of China’s ADIZ flights happen off the southwestern fringe of Taiwan. However there was a serious improve in median line incursions after Beijing introduced enormous navy drills to protest this week’s go to to the island territory by US Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Of the 49 incursions Taiwan reported on Wednesday and Thursday, 44 concerned Chinese language plane crossing the median line. Till lately, incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ have been additionally comparatively uncommon. However that started to alter about two years in the past, as Beijing utilized larger navy strain on Taiwan, which it regards as its territory and has vowed to in the future take over. Final 12 months, Taiwan recorded 969 incursions by Chinese language warplanes into its ADIZ, in accordance with an AFP database — greater than double the roughly 380 carried out in 2020. Essentially the most variety of plane China has despatched in a single day was 56, on October 4, 2021. Earlier than this week’s navy drills, Taiwan reported 626 incursions, an nearly 70 p.c improve on the identical interval final 12 months. The massive variety of sorties has put Taiwan’s air power beneath immense strain, and it has suffered a string of deadly accidents lately.