China deploys 71 warplanes, 7 naval ships toward Taiwan: Report
China deployed seven ships and 71 warplanes toward Taiwan in a 24-hour display of power, the latter's defense ministry said on Monday. The latest drills are reportedly among the largest since Taiwan began releasing daily tallies of such Chinese exercises. Meanwhile, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) said it conducted a "strike drill" on Sunday, following "provocations" by Taiwan and its "collusion" with the US.
Why does this story matter?
- This is the latest demonstration from China after a series of military drills near Taiwan in recent months.
- Notably, tensions escalated between China and Taiwan following United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit in August.
- To recall, Pelosi's trip was preceded by stern warnings from China that it would take resolute and aggressive measures to uphold its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
47 Chinese planes crossed Taiwan Strait's median line: Ministry
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence has said that 47 Chinese planes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait in the 24-hour period between 6:00 am Sunday and 6:00 am Monday, AP reported. The ministry also tweeted that China launched 18 J-16 fighter planes, 11 J-1 fighter jets, 6 Sukhoi Su-30 fighters, and several drones toward Taiwan.
Monitoring Chinese activity, Taiwan military says
Bloomberg reported Taiwan is keeping an eye on Chinese moves with the help of its own navy ships and land-based missile systems. Notably, Beijing has increased its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure on Taiwan under President Xi Jinping amid the deterioration of ties. Taiwan continues to live in fear amid the threat of Chinese invasion since China intends to annex the self-governing, democratic island.
Changing dynamics under President Jinping
The rule of Jinping—one of China's most powerful and authoritarian leaders—further changed the dynamics of the Taiwan conflict. Interestingly, he earlier made it quite clear that Taiwan's "reunification" couldn't be passed down to later generations. Meanwhile, the US has increased its support to Taiwan, including clearing a law last week allowing $10 billion in military aid to Taiwan, which was strongly opposed by Beijing.
Recent trigger by US
China often uses military exercises to demonstrate power in response to US support for Taiwan and other activities it finds "provocative." Pelosi's Taipei trip infuriated China, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi terming it a "complete farce" and also issuing a warning. Beijing responded to her trip with unprecedented military drills around Taiwan, including firing missiles into the sea and crossing the median line.