Malaysia’s air force scrambled fighter jets to intercept 16 Chinese military aircraft off the coast of Sarawak state on the island of Borneo on Monday after they intruded into Malaysian maritime airspace and “refused to communicate with local air-traffic controllers,” Malaysian government officials said on Tuesday.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) issued a statement on June 1 detailing the Chinese air fleet’s incursion into Malaysia’s “maritime zone airspace,” which is the airspace over a nation’s territorial seas. International law grants coastal states complete sovereignty over their maritime zone airspace. China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) operated the intrusive fleet, which included the “Russian-made Ilyushin Il-76 and Chinese-made Xian Y-20 – transport aircraft capable of conducting multiple missions,” according to Malaysian military officials.
RMAF’s radar station in Sarawak “detected the [Chinese] aircraft on Monday at 11:53 a.m. local time, and … the aircraft were in a tactical