Last week, China’s armed forces held another round of military exercises near Taiwan. “To improve the interaction of the military,” said the People’s Liberation Army of China after the Taiwanese authorities announced a surge in activity. We remind that China has considered Taiwan an integral part of China for 73 years.
Over the past two years, Taiwan has repeatedly complained of increased Chinese military activity near the republic’s territorial waters, mainly in the southern and southwestern parts of ADIZ air defense zone.
On Friday, May 6, 2022, 18 Chinese planes entered Taiwan’s air defense zone and were intercepted by Taiwan Air Force planes. Among the Chinese aircraft are 6 Shenyang J-11 fighters, 6 Shenyang J-16 fighter-bomber, two Xian H-6 strategic bombers (a Soviet Tu-16 manufactured in China under license) and several Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft based on the Soviet An-12).
Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army of China said that the country’s navy and air force conducted exercises from Friday to Sunday in east and southwest of Taiwan to “test and further improve the joint combat capability of (several) different types of troops and types of weapons.”
The incident, as well as the larger-scale invasion on January 23, 2022, went unnoticed, with Chinese planes leaving Taiwan’s airspace.
Taiwan is currently on high alert for fears that China could use the Russian-Ukrainian war to launch its own invasion of Taiwan.
Last week, Taiwan also conducted pre-announced missile and other exercises off the island’s south and southeast coasts.
Responding to questions from parliament on Monday, May 9, 2022, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said that China continues to pose a threat: “But we are determined to defend our country,” he said.
There has been talk of a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan since the beginning of the “hot” phase of the war in Ukraine, but it seemed that after a series of sanctions against Russia and global military, political and financial support for Ukraine, China abandoned previous plans (if they existed).
On the other hand, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began after the “military exercises”, as did the 2008 invasion of Georgia. Therefore, Taiwan has been on the alert for many years.
Taiwan is a longtime US military partner and uses many modern American weapons. And although there are no US military bases in the country, they are in Japan and South Korea, that is, nearby.