Beijing Sends 7 Ships and 71 Planes to Taiwan in 24 Hours

Beijing Sends 7 Ships and 71 Planes to Taiwan in 24 Hours
A helicopter and boat under the Eastern Theatre Command of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) take part in a maritime rescue drill, as part of military exercises in the waters around Taiwan, at an undisclosed location on Aug. 9, 2022. (Eastern Theatre Command/Handout via Reuters)
Naveen Athrappully
12/26/2022
Updated:
12/27/2022

The Chinese communist regime has sent 71 planes and seven ships during a 24-hour period toward the island nation of Taiwan amid rising U.S. support for Taipei.

Between 6 a.m. on Dec. 25 and 6 a.m. on Dec. 26, 47 out of the 71 Chinese planes crossed the median of the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, The Associated Press reported. The Taiwan Strait is seen as the unofficial boundary between the two sides.

Taiwan monitored the movement of Chinese assets through its navy vessels and land-based missile systems. The various Chinese planes involved in the incident included six Su-30 fighters, 11 J-1 fighters, 18 J-16 fighters, and drones.

“This is a firm response to the current U.S.–Taiwan escalation and provocation,” Shi Yi, spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement.

Yi noted that the PLA was conducting joint strike drills and combat patrols in the waters around Taiwan.

The “provocation” referred to by Shi is the U.S. defense spending bill that has defined China as a strategic challenge and authorized boosting security cooperation with Taiwan, as well as expanding cooperation with India in the field of defense readiness, technologies, and logistics.

“China deplores and firmly opposes this U.S. move,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement about the $858 billion defense bill, according to AP.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks at a ceremony to mark the island's National Day in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei on Oct. 10, 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks at a ceremony to mark the island's National Day in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei on Oct. 10, 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

China–Taiwan

China sees the self-ruled island of Taiwan as part of its territory and has indicated that it plans to annex the region.

In recent years, Beijing’s military harassment of Taiwan has intensified. In August, when U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, Beijing conducted live-fire exercises.

Then, over a 24-hour period between Dec. 12 and Dec. 13, China sent 21 warplanes into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone, of which 18 were bombers.

During her speech at a military ceremony on Dec. 26, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen highlighted the need for the island to boost its defense capacity owing to the “continuous expansion of authoritarianism.” She didn’t mention the latest Chinese military activity.

“The more preparations we make, the less likely there will be rash attempts of aggression. The more united we are, the stronger and safer Taiwan would become,” Tsai said, according to The Guardian.

Chinese Aggression

In a recent interview with PBS, Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John Aquilino said the United States needs to move quickly to arm Taiwan to deter a potential Chinese invasion of the island.

This will be in line with “the actions and responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act” that the United States has with Taipei, he said.

“[Chinese leader] Xi Jinping has tasked his military department to deliver the capabilities that he might need, should he decide to take a choice of force by 2027. He’s said it in open space. So I believe that they will execute the orders of their president,” Aquilino said.

In its 2022 China Military Power Report, the U.S. Department of Defense pointed out that Beijing is increasing coercion in the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese regime is conducting “persistent military operations” near Taiwan and training for a Taiwan contingency, the report notes as one of the key takeaways. This potentially indicates a “greater urgency” for the PLA to improve its planning and capabilities on the issue.

In 2021 and 2022, the “provocative and destabilizing actions” by the PLA in and around the Taiwan Strait increased, the report states, while noting that some of the military exercises were likely aimed at the potential seizure of one of the outlying islands currently in Taiwan’s control.

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
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