China Flies a Dozen Bombers Near Taiwan, Prompting Protest From Taipei

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Beijing has stepped up its sorties in recent days, despite US warnings

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Taiwan’s government, which said the PLA was conducting “large-scale infiltration exercises” in the maritime and airspace around Taiwan, has criticized the behavior, according to the island’s state-owned central news agency, citing the Mainland Affairs Council. asked to stop. It said Taiwan would defend its sovereignty and that the government was cooperating with unspecified countries in what it called malicious provocations by the Chinese Communist Party.

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The PLA’s flight paths, in recent times near the southwestern part of the island, were in an area that is not part of Taiwan’s airspace, but monitors the island for potential foreign intrusions. Taipei claims to be 12 nautical miles from its coast as its airspace.

The timing of the deployment coincided with a weeklong holiday that began with the National Day in China on 1 October, although the justification for the PLA was not immediately known. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office did not respond to a request for comment at Beijing time on Monday evening.

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In response to the US State Department expressing concern over the weekend about Chinese military activity near Taiwan, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry reiterated Beijing’s assertion on Taiwan and called on Washington to “consider the outside world to be extremely inaccurate and irresponsible.” Signal” requested to stop sending. Taiwan is a self-governing island that Beijing claims as its territory and has vowed to take by military force if necessary.

Without citing the PLA’s recent activity near Taiwan, spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China reserves the right to retaliate against US moves to strengthen military ties with Taiwan, including arms sales and US military operations on the island. Aircraft tours include American warships as well. Crossing the Taiwan Strait.

Military scholars and Chinese experts say the PLA’s progress, Taiwan’s biggest display of such force in the past year, is aimed at trying to stop Western powers that have sent naval carriers to the region. , as well as scaring Taipei.

“It’s incredibly stimulating and dangerous,” said Ian Easton, senior director of the Project 2049 Institute, a US-based non-profit research organization that focuses on the Indo-Pacific region. He said he would not rule out a number of possible reasons for Beijing’s actions, including a direct response to potential US activity in the western Pacific, or a large-scale exercise that is part of preparations to one day invade Taiwan.

“There is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to Taiwan, and this increases the likelihood of a crisis or miscalculation,” he said.

Mr Easton and other scholars expressed concern about the number of strategic bombers that countries often use for political signals. The US has sent bombers to China and North Korea in the past but usually sends one or two such aircraft.

China’s H-6 bombers can be equipped with long-range missiles, so Beijing is showing it is capable of large-scale and long-range combat, including the ability to threaten major air bases on Taiwan’s east coast. Involved, according to Shu Xiao-huang, a research fellow at Taiwan’s military-backed Institute for National Defense and Security Research.

In an unusual maneuver, the PLA began its flights at 3 a.m. on Monday, local media reported, citing a social media account belonging to a Taiwanese military retiree who monitors military scanners. According to Taiwan’s air force, the PLA continued into the night, sending four J-16 jet fighters after dark.

Chang Yan-ting, a former Vice Marshal of Taiwan’s Air Force, said the PLA was trying to improve its ability to engage in combat in the dark. “Improvements in night fighting mean that it is closer to being able to engage in real combat,” he said.

Amid close ties between Taipei and Washington, the PLA has increased its presence around Taiwan over the past year. Military analysts say China’s actions have been an effective way to crush Taiwan’s air force, which has to scramble its own jets.

At the same time, the US Navy has intensified navigation-of-navigation operations in and around the Taiwan Strait, with sailings by other Western countries including France and the UK.

US carrier strike groups Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan were in the Philippine Sea last Monday and Thursday, just east of Taiwan, respectively, according to US Navy photos. The US Indo-Pacific Command said on September 24 that Ronald Reagan was in the South China Sea for the second time this year, while earlier in the month, Carl Vinson was operating in the area for the first time this year. .

The PLA has flown more than 800 warplanes near Taiwan in the past year, according to the Wall Street Journal of Activity based on data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, which began releasing such data on September 16, 2020. Most of the planes were sent this year.

Chao Deng at [email protected] and Joy Wang at [email protected]


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