The Chinese military has deployed a large number of jets near Taiwan.
Over the weekend, the military of China escalated its provocative actions near Taiwan by conducting military operations with over 100 aircraft. China has expressed its intention to eventually assume control over the democratic island.
On Sunday, the Taiwan Defense Ministry shared on X (formerly known as Twitter) that they detected a total of 103 jets, with 40 of them crossing the median line in the Taiwan Strait, which is 100 miles wide. 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.
The latest demonstration followed major PLA war games around Taiwan from Sept. 11 to Sept. 15 that included 20 warships, among them the aircraft carrier Shandong and two other action groups of destroyers and frigates. Taipei said that in response Taiwanese jets were scrambled, naval vessels deployed, and land-based missile systems activated.
Until recently, adhering to the unspoken boundary in the sea that separates Taiwan and mainland China was crucial in preserving a delicate balance. Experts suggest that China’s recent crossings of the median line demonstrate their defiance of the established order, despite continuous objections from the United States and Taiwan.
China’s recent military actions over the weekend seem to be a strategic move to assert their territorial claims in the maritime region. However, these claims have been refuted 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, Japan’s government has expressed its objection to China placing an oceanographic buoy within Japan’s exclusive economic zone near the Senkaku Islands. The buoys are being utilized to gather data that could assist in guiding coast guard vessels, monitoring elements like wave size and current. This information was reported by government sources.
China and Japan have been in conflict for a considerable period of time regarding the ownership of the deserted 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 timing of the extensive military operations by air and sea seems to align with the meetings between White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. A senior official from the Biden administration informed reporters on Sunday that Taiwan was a significant subject discussed during these talks.
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.
According to a statement from the White House, the objective of the Malta talks was to enhance communication and uphold relations in times of tension.
“The statement highlighted that there were open, meaningful, and productive conversations between the two parties. It mentioned the initiation of a reset endeavor during a meeting in November 2022, held in Bali, Indonesia, between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The discussions encompassed important subjects such as Taiwan and the conflict in Ukraine.”
Chinese state media said Mr. Wang told Mr. Sullivan that Taiwan is a “red line that must not be crossed.”
PLA spokesman Sr. Col. Senior Colonel Wu Qian on Aug. 31 defended earlier Chinese war games near Taiwan, saying they were designed to deter “separatist forces” inside Taiwan and ward off any thought of foreign intervention.
“I caution the authorities of the Democratic Progressive Party against attempting to stop the inevitable with futile efforts. Otherwise, they will find themselves in a difficult situation,” Colonel Wu stated, alluding to the currently ruling pro-independence political party in Taipei.
The Global Times, a newspaper associated with the Chinese Communist Party, stated that the sudden deployment of more than 100 aircraft in one day suggested “a significant and extensive military operation.”
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.”