China’s military has sent several dozen warplanes and warships towards Taiwan in a large-scale exercise .This was an exercise that simulated sealing off the island in response to its president’s trip to the US.
The Chinese military had earlier announced three-day “combat readiness patrols” which it called Joint Sword as a warning to Taiwan, a self-ruled island which China claims as its own.
Beijing says contact between foreign officials and the island’s democratic government encourages Taiwanese who want formal independence. a step China’s ruling Communist Party says would lead to war.
The sides split in 1949 after a civil war, and the ruling party says the island is obliged to rejoin the mainland, by force if necessary.
China’s latest military actions follow President Tsai Ing-wen’s delicate diplomatic mission to shore up Taiwan’s dwindling alliances in Central America . And to boost its US support, a trip capped with a sensitive meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.
A US congressional delegation also met with Tsai over the weekend in Taiwan after she returned.
China’s response to the McCarthy meeting
China responded to the McCarthy meeting by imposing a travel ban and financial sanctions against those associated with Tsai’s US trip. China increased military activity through the weekend.
On Monday morning, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army said its Shandong aircraft carrier, for the first time, was taking part in the exercises encircling Taiwan.
It showed a video of a fighter jet taking off the deck of the ship.This is according to a post from the PLA’s Eastern Command on Weibo, the social media platform.
Between 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense detected a total of 70 planes. Half of these planes crossed the median of the Taiwan Strait. This is an unofficial boundary once tacitly accepted by both sides.
Among the planes that crossed the median were eight J-16 fighter jets, four J-1 fighters, eight Su-30 fighters, and reconnaissance planes.
Later Monday morning, Taiwan’s defense ministry reported another 59 flights by bombers, as well as multiple fighter jets.
That followed a full day between Friday and Saturday, where the island’s Defense Ministry detected eight warships and 71 planes near Taiwan. The ministry said in a statement that it was approaching the situation from the perspective of “not escalating conflict and not causing disputes.”
Taiwan said it monitored the Chinese moves through its land-based missile systems, as well as on its navy vessels.
China’s military harassment of Taiwan has intensified in recent years. Many planes and ships are sent towards the island on a near-daily basis. Also with the numbers rising in reaction to sensitive activities.