The Chinese military has deployed a large number of jets in close proximity to Taiwan.
Over the weekend, China’s military intensified its provocative military maneuvers near Taiwan, with over 100 military aircraft flying close to the democratic island that China has expressed intentions of eventually seizing.
On Sunday, the Taiwan Defense Ministry shared on X (formerly known as Twitter) that they detected a total of 103 jets. Out of these planes, 40 crossed the median line that runs through the middle of the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait. Additionally, the ministry reported the sighting of nine PLA navy vessels.
The Chinese warplanes included 10 Su-30s, 12 J-10s, four J-11s, 10 J-16s, two Y-20 refueling tankers and two KJ-500 warning and control jets.
Taipei responded to the recent PLA war games near Taiwan, which took place from Sept. 11 to Sept. 15. The war games involved 20 warships, including the aircraft carrier Shandong and two other groups of destroyers and frigates. In reaction, Taiwanese jets were mobilized, naval vessels were dispatched, and land-based missile systems were put into operation.
Until recently, adhering to the unspoken boundary at sea between Taiwan and mainland China was crucial for preserving a delicate balance. Experts argue that China’s recent crossings of the median line demonstrate its willingness to disrupt the established order, despite objections from the United States and Taiwan.
China’s recent military actions over the weekend seem to be a way for Beijing to assert its territorial claims in the region, which are disputed by the United States and smaller countries in East Asia.
Chinese vessels recently fired a water cannon at a Philippines ship seeking to resupply a grounded naval vessel in the Spratly Islands being used as a military base.
According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, the Japanese government has expressed its objection to China’s placement of an oceanographic buoy within Japan’s exclusive economic zone near the Senkaku Islands. The buoys are being utilized to gather data that could potentially assist in guiding coast guard ships, monitoring elements like wave dimensions and currents. This information was obtained from government sources.
China and Japan have been in a longstanding dispute regarding the ownership of the uninhabited islands.
Chinese state media referred to the warplane flights near Taiwan on Sunday as “record-breaking.” These flights occurred simultaneously with a significant war game exercise involving 20 naval vessels from the PLA around the island.
The large-scale warplane and naval activity also appeared timed to coincide with meetings between White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Taiwan was a major topic of the talks, a senior Biden administration official told reporters Sunday.
The two days of secret meetings that ended Sunday were held on the Mediterranean island nation of Malta. Mr. Wang then flew on to Moscow for talks with top Russian leaders.
The White House stated that the objective of the Malta talks was to enhance communication and uphold relations during periods of tension.
“The statement highlighted that the two parties engaged in open, meaningful, and productive conversations. It acknowledged the initiation of a reset initiative during a meeting in November 2022 between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali, Indonesia. The discussions encompassed important subjects such as Taiwan and the conflict in Ukraine.”
Mr. Wang reportedly emphasized to Mr. Sullivan that Taiwan is an inviolable boundary that should not be crossed, according to Chinese state media.
On August 31, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson for the PLA, justified the recent military exercises conducted by China near Taiwan. He stated that these exercises were intended to discourage any separatist movements within Taiwan and prevent any foreign intervention.
“I caution the authorities of the Democratic Progressive Party against attempting to resist the inevitable. Otherwise, they will find themselves in a difficult situation,” Colonel Wu stated, alluding to the pro-independence political party currently in control in Taipei.
The unannounced deployment of more than 100 aircraft in a single day, as reported by the Global Times, a newspaper affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, suggests a significant and extensive operational campaign.
Fu Qianshao, a retired PLA air force officer, told the paper that the large number of forces around Taiwan are a sign that combat-oriented exercises reached a new level and “can be turned into real action at any time if necessary.”