45 Chinese aircraft, 6 vessels detected near Taiwan, tensions rise

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The Ministry of National Defence in Taiwan reported a surge in activity by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China around the island nation, heightening tensions in the region. According to official statements released on Wednesday, a total of 45 PLA aircraft and 6 vessels from China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) were detected operating near Taiwan as of 6 am local time. Of particular concern was the intrusion into Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) by 26 aircraft, which crossed the median line, venturing into the northern and southwestern sectors of Taiwan’s airspace.

In response to the increased activity, Taiwan’s Republic of China Armed Forces (ROCArmedForces) closely monitored the situation and implemented necessary measures to safeguard national security. “45 PLA aircraft and 6 PLAN vessels operating around Taiwan were detected up until 6 a.m. (UTC+8) today. 26 of the aircraft crossed the median line and entered Taiwan’s northern and southwestern ADIZ. #ROCArmedForces have monitored the situation and responded accordingly,” said Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence on Wednesday.

This development comes amid already heightened tensions between Taiwan and China, with Beijing asserting its claims of sovereignty over Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province. Taiwan, on the other hand, maintains its independence and democratic governance. The recent surge in PLA activity underscores the ongoing military manoeuvres conducted by China near Taiwan’s borders, raising concerns about potential escalation and the risk of confrontation in the region. The MND has issued daily reports on Chinese military activities for the past few years, including identifying those Chinese aircraft, drones, and balloons that are found to have crossed the Taiwan Strait median line to the Taiwan side.

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The median line of the Taiwan Strait served for decades as a tacit border between China and Taiwan, but China’s military has more freely sent aircraft, warships and drones across it since former United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022. Since September 2020, China has increased its use of grey zone tactics by incrementally increasing the number of military aircraft and naval ships operating around Taiwan. Grey zone tactics are defined as “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.”