China sends 47 aircraft across the Taiwan Strait and conducts military exercises near JapanThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
China sent 47 aircraft across the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Sunday the biggest invasion in of Taiwan air defense zone in recent months as Beijing steps up efforts to normalize aggressive military operations around the self-ruled island.
The raids were carried out by 42 J-10, J-11, J-16 and Su-30 fighter jets, two Y-8 maritime patrol aircraft, a KJ-500 early warning aircraft, as well as a CH-4 and a WZ-7 military droneaccording to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.
He added that a total of 71 Chinese aircraft had been spotted around the island and that Taiwan’s military had responded by deploying combat air patrol aircraft, naval vessels and land-based missile systems.
The flights, part of a so-called “strike exercise” according to the Chinese military, follow naval exercises by a Chinese aircraft carrier group in the western Pacific Ocean near Japan on Friday.
China’s ruling Communist Party views Taiwan – a democratically-ruled island of 24 million people – as part of its territory, even though it has never controlled it. It has long vowed to “unify” the island with mainland China, by force if necessary.
Tensions around Taiwan have increased significantly this year. Island visit from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August sparked anger from the Communist Party and an immediate wave of military exercises.
Since then, Beijing has stepped up tactics of aggressive military pressure on the island, sending warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the body of water separating Taiwan and China, and into the island’s air defense identification zone – an airspace buffer commonly referred to as the ADIZ.
For decades, the median line served as an unofficial demarcation line between the two, with military incursions across it rare.
The latest activities came as China’s Eastern Theater Military Command said on Sunday it had conducted a joint combat readiness patrol and “exercises” around Taiwan in response to “provocations” between Taiwan and the United States, without providing specific details.
“The troops will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Eastern Theater Command said.
On Friday, US President Joe Biden signed a sweeping new defense bill into law that includes the creation of a defense modernization program for Taiwan to deter Chinese aggression.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense responded in a statement Sunday night that it was confident in defending its sovereignty. “The Chinese Communist Party’s actions have highlighted its mentality of using force to resolve differences, which undermines regional peace and stability,” it said.
“Cooperation between Taiwan and the United States will help preserve a free, open and stable Indo-Pacific region. The military will continue to strengthen military readiness based on enemy threats and self-defense needs,” the statement added.
In November, Biden met Chinese leader Xi Jinping in person for the first time during his presidency at the G20 summit in Indonesia. Biden then described the three-hour meeting as “open and frank” and cast doubt on the impending invasion of Taiwan.
Formal bilateral talks on climate cooperation are expected to resume as part of a wider set of deals between Biden and Xi – with China previously suspending talks as part of retaliation for Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
Last Friday, China also held a series of military exercises near Japan’s southern Pacific island of Okinawa, according to Japanese officials.
The Chinese navy’s aircraft carrier Liaoning, along with two destroyers and a frigate, sailed about 560 kilometers (about 348 miles) east of Kitadaito Island, off Okinawa’s east coast, on Dec. 21, according to Japan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. The ships also sailed about 120 kilometers (74 miles) east of Okinotorishima, located further to the southeast, on December 22.
Then on Friday, about 180 carrier-based fighter jets and helicopters took off and landed on the Liaoning aircraft carrier, according to Japan’s defense ministry.
The Ministry of Defense and the Japan Self-Defense Force responded by sending two escort ships to gather information and conduct warning and surveillance, the ministry said.
Tensions between China and Japan have also been rising steadily, with Beijing increasing its naval and air forces in areas near Japan. China also claims the Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited chain controlled by Japan in the East China Sea.
Chinese ships make frequent raids near the islands, which it calls the Diaoyus, while Japan sends warplanes almost daily in response to Chinese planes approaching its airspace.
Earlier this month, Japan unveiled a new national security plan that signals the country’s biggest military build-up since World War II, a doubling of defense spending and a departure from its pacifist constitution in the face of growing threats from China, North Korea and Russia .
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