China flies 52 fighter planes toward Taiwan in its largest recorded show of force

Chinese J-16 fighter jet
A Chinese J-16 fighter jet.
(Taiwan Ministry of Defense)

China flew 52 fighter planes toward Taiwan on Monday in Beijing’s largest show of force on record toward the self-ruled island, continuing several days of sustained military harassment.

The sortie included 34 J-16 fighter jets and 12 H-6 bombers, among other aircraft, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense. Taiwan’s air force monitored the movement of the Chinese warplanes on its air-defense system.

The People’s Liberation Army sent 38 warplanes into the area Friday — China’s National Day — and 39 aircraft Saturday, which at that point was the most in a single day since Taiwan began releasing reports on such flights in September 2020. China sent an additional 16 planes Sunday.

The number of incursions into Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone prompted a statement of concern from U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price over the weekend, who warned that China’s military activity near Taiwan risks miscalculation and undermines regional peace and stability.


“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” the statement said.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has threatened to retake the island by force if it declares independence.