Chinese balloon detected crossing Taiwan Strait median line: Taiwan Defence Ministry

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Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence on Wednesday announced that 8 Chinese Peoples Liberation Army aircraft and 3 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected at 6 am UTC. One KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane–one of the eight People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft–entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in the southwest, according to the MND. The Ministry said that the Taiwan Armed Forces have monitored the situation and tasked appropriate forces to respond.

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The Ministry of Defence in Taiwan further said that one PRC balloon was detected on Tuesday after crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait at the location 63 nautical miles NW of Keelung with an altitude of approximately 12,000 feet. The balloon headed east and disappeared in the early hours of Wednesday. To monitor PLA operations, Taiwan also sent planes, naval ships, and deployed air defence missile systems, Taiwan News reported.

China has been using gray zone tactics more often since September 2020, gradually expanding the number of military planes and navy vessels in the Taiwan area, according to Taiwan News. “An effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempts to achieve one’s security objectives without resorting to direct and sizable use of force” is how gray zone tactics are defined. On Tuesday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence said that 4 PLA aircraft and 3 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected. Armed Forces have monitored the situation and tasked appropriate forces to respond.

One PRC’s balloon was detected on Monday after crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait at the location 67 nautical miles northwest of Keelung and altitude of approximately 15,000 feet. The balloon headed east and disappeared. Notably, Beijing has sent 122 navy vessels and 182 military aircraft around Taiwan so far this month.