HomeExpansionismChinese Belligerence - 37 Warplanes, 7 Ships Deployed Around Taiwan

Chinese Belligerence – 37 Warplanes, 7 Ships Deployed Around Taiwan

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Over the course of two days, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) deployed 37 aircrafts and seven navy vessels around Taiwan. This fleet included advanced fighter jets such as J-10 and J-16, as well as H-6 bombers. 22 of these warplanes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, crossing the midline of the Taiwan Strait, an informal boundary separating China and Taiwan.

Taiwan is on high alert as China sent dozens of warplanes toward Taiwan in a forceful demonstration of power, says the island’s Defense Ministry. This military exercise by China occurred just days before Taiwan was set to commence its own military exercises in preparation for possible invasion.

This dramatic display of military power is part of an ongoing historical dispute. The deep-seated division between China and Taiwan traces back to the civil war in 1949 that concluded with the ruling Communist Party controlling the mainland, while Taiwan remained independent. Beijing, however, continues to consider Taiwan a part of its territory.

The Chinese show of force also comes in response to Taiwan’s upcoming annual Han Kuang exercise, where the island nation plans to carry out military drills focused on defending against a potential invasion. Alongside this, Taiwan will conduct the annual Wan’an exercises aimed at preparing civilians for natural disasters and practicing evacuations in the event of an air raid.

Notably, China’s military flexing has often been triggered by Taiwan’s political engagements. When Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, it led to the PLA holding large-scale military drills around the island’s sea and air territories. The situation escalated even more following the visit of the former US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan in August 2022, leading to China disrupting trade lanes in the Taiwan Strait and rerouting flights.

In response to China’s continuous show of military strength, Taiwan has increased the scale of its own drills, engaging a larger part of its population in readiness exercises. This year, these drills will cover districts comprising nearly three million of Taiwan’s 23 million people, a significant increase from previous years. As a part of these exercises, police will guide people on the streets to their nearest bomb shelter at the time of an air raid drill.

The intensifying activities from both sides signify the deepening divide and heightening tension between China and Taiwan. While China aims to bring Taiwan back under its control, Taiwan continues to assert its own identity and fortify its defenses. Despite mounting pressure from China, Taiwan maintains robust unofficial ties with the United States, which has pledged to assist the island in case of an invasion.

This formidable and costly display from China serves as a stark reminder to Taiwan that it remains firmly within China’s sights. It underscores the growing urgency of the situation and suggests that Taiwan’s period of autonomous standing may be facing a count-down.

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