The Ministry of National Defence (MND) tracked 24 Chinese military aircraft and four naval vessels around Taiwan between 6 am Saturday (December 31) and 6 am on Sunday (January 1).
Taiwan used aircraft, naval ships, and land-based missile systems to monitor People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft and vessels, reported Taiwan News.
Of the 24 PLA aircraft, 15 were tracked in ADIZ, including 12 which crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, according to the MND.
Four Shenyang J-11 fighter jets, four Chengdu J-10 fighter planes, and four Shenyang J-16 fighter jets crossed the median line.
Meanwhile, one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane, one Harbin BZK-005 reconnaissance drone, and one BZK-007 reconnaissance drone were monitored in the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ, reported Taiwan News.
Since September 2020, China has increased its use of grey zone tactics by routinely sending aircraft into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.
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 resort to direct and sizable use of force.”
Meanwhile, amid growing tensions between China and the US over Beijing’s growing aggression in the South China Sea, the Chinese Navy simulated an attack on an American Navy task group on December 21, the same day that a Chinese J-11 fighter jet intercepted a US Air Force RC-135 surveillance aircraft, in what the Pentagon termed an “unsafe manoeuvre,” reported The Drive.
On December 21, according to the SCS Probing Initiative, the US military sent three P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, one RC-135V surveillance aircraft, and one E-3G airborne early warning and control aircraft from Clark Air Base and Kadena Air Base to operate over the South China Sea and south of the Taiwan Strait. The RC-135V in question could very well have been the one intercepted by the J-11.
Intense Chinese military activity in the South China Sea is hardly unusual, although it’s interesting to note that, in this case, the exercise scenario apparently targeted US Navy vessels specifically.
The Chinese leadership has taken an increasingly aggressive stance toward Taiwan in recent years, while officials in the United States are now more openly expressing concerns that Beijing may seek to take control of the island sooner rather than later.