The largest display of force since Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in August, when PLA planes breached airspace
Days after, the US enacted an annual defense budget bill authorizing up to $10 billion in security aid to the nation for the first time, and China conducted its largest military exercises near by Taiwan area over the weekend since Taiwan Strait Crisis in August. According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, 47 PLA aircraft entered the nation’s air defense identification zone in the 24 hours following Monday morning, at least 41 of which crossed the Taiwan Strait median line.
This is the most breaches of Taiwan’s ADIZ, a self-declared buffer zone, that China had committed in a single day since August 5, when Beijing held a week-long exercise in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. This makes it China’s third-highest total ever.
China begins military exercises 2022
China has been progressively expanding the size and breadth of its air and naval activities near Taiwan recently, with activity increasing significantly since the standoff in August. But until to the drills on Sunday, the PLA had not made any official declarations since August.
According to a statement from the Eastern Theater Command of the PLA, “combined combat readiness patrols and joint firepower strike drills” had been organized by the military. It stated, “This is the resolute response to the current escalation of US and Taiwan collusion and provocation.”
Following the US Congress’ deliberation and adoption of unprecedented military support for Taiwan in its annual defense budget package, which US president Joe Biden signed into law on Friday, Beijing stepped up its military posture significantly. The National Defense Authorization Act includes provisions for fast-tracking arms sales to Taiwan and up to $10 billion in security assistance over five years.
China expressed its “strong dissatisfaction and uncompromising opposition” to the bill on Saturday, claiming that it had harmed peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The lawsuit “ignores the facts to exaggerate a ‘China threat,’ intentionally meddles in Chinese domestic affairs, and insults and smears the Chinese Communist party, which are substantial political provocations,” the foreign ministry claims.
Taiwan’s data indicates that 42 of the 47 PLA planes that flew into the ADIZ were fighter aircraft, with the other planes being an early warning and reconnaissance aircraft, one of which was a drone. More than two dozen fighters breached the median line near its center, where the strait is narrowest. The PLA only seldom uses this exceedingly risky manoeuvre, generally when Beijing wishes to respond to events like key US officials visiting Taipei.
Following the appearance of the NDAA, the PLA intensified some operations that were somewhat unusual, such as an aerial refueling exercise with fighters and bombers over southern Taiwan last Thursday, a record 18 bomber ADIZ invasion on December 13 and fighters crossing the midline on December 8.
Senior Taiwanese authorities said that the PLA had utilized these activities to mimic warship attacks and invasion drills using amphibious ships stationed at the northern and southern extremities of the Taiwan Strait.
According to statistics from the Taiwanese defense ministry, China’s highest single-day intrusion into Taiwan’s ADIZ occurred in October last year with 59 aircraft. The ministry said 71 PLA aircraft had flown in the vicinity of Taiwan during the previous 24 hours. However, the significance of that figure is still unknown because Taipei only sometimes makes public the flight routes of Chinese military aircraft.
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