Beijing launched new air and sea attack drills near Taiwan to intimidate the breakaway province on Aug. 16.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deployed warships, fighter jets, and anti-submarine aircraft southwest and southeast of the island. The order came in response to what the CCP calls “external interference and provocations by Taiwan independence forces.”
People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Territory Command spokesman Shi Yi confirmed the various drill plans would improve military coordination, according to Reuters.
Shi claims the drills are necessary because the United States and Taiwan are guilty of “collusion” and “provocations” against “Chinese sovereignty.”
However, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense fired back it is fully prepared if the CCP plans to conduct anything beyond a military exercise.
“The nation’s military has a full grasp and has made a full assessment of the situation in the Taiwan Strait region,” a ministry representative said according to the newswire agency. “[Taiwan] is prepared for various responses.”
At least 11 Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense zone (ADIZ), including two nuclear-capable H-6K bombers and six J-16 fighters. Taiwan has deployed planes to warn Chinese aircrafts to stay away.
The CCP has plotted invading Taiwan for decades because the island operates independently and self-governs with democratically elected leaders. Beijing does not recognize Taiwan as an independent jurisdiction, and claims the island belongs to greater China. The CCP’s military arm has sent aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ almost every day for more than a year already.
The PLA’s arsenal has ranged from lone surveillance planes to dozens of aircraft, including bombers and fighter jets, according to The Guardian.
China expert J Michael Cole cited a Macdonald-Laurier Institute analysis that shows the most alarming incidents involve PLA fighters crossing the tacit midline in the Taiwan Strait. This is a widely accepted midpoint.
“Those were rightly regarded as the most serious incidents, not because they violated Taiwan’s airspace but rather because the aircraft’s vector of approach pointed directly towards Taiwan rather than into the west Pacific or the South China Sea–as was the case with penetrations of Taiwan’s ADIZ,” he said according to the publication.
Other countries have suffered from CCP aggression and rallied in support of Taiwan. These include major allies the United States, Japan, Australia, and India.
The previous Trump administration deepened diplomatic and trade links to Taiwan, posing a growing threat to the CCP’s invasion plans. This prompted the PLA to directly referred to drills as a “response to external interference.”
Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang warned the CCP against spreading propaganda about the United States abandoning the island. He also stressed residents will defend the island with everything they can muster.
“Do not be deluded,” he said according to the Japan Times.