China Surrounds Taiwan in ‘Training Exercise’
China sent forces to flank Taiwan by air and sea last Monday in a show of force that analysts have interpreted as a warning to the island and its allies, including the United States.
The display featured an aircraft carrier and at least 10 warplanes. It took place shortly after the US conducted joint military exercises with Japan, Australia, and India.
China claimed the demonstration was a “routine training exercise organized according to the annual work plan to test the troops’ training effectiveness and beef up their capacity to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests” and warned that more operations would be coming soon.
Two days later, China sent 15 more warplanes flying through Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
That same day, the American flag was spotted off the west coast of Taiwan as the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) sailed between the island and the Chinese mainland.
The following Sunday, the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its escorts began routine exercises in the South China Sea including “rotary-wing flight operations, maritime strike exercises, anti-submarine operations, coordinated tactical training, and more,” confirmed Lt. Mark Langford, a spokesman for the US Navy 7th Fleet.
China has sought to regain control of Taiwan since 1949. That is when Nationalists loyal to Chiang Kai-shek lost to Mao Zedong’s Communists. China’s military has been active in the South China Sea for years. However, intimidation efforts have increased since President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“China uses coercion and aggression to systemically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law,” argues Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to do ‘whatever it takes’ to regain control of the island.
China sent 20 warplanes into Taiwan’s ADIZ in March and dispatched a maritime militia it claimed were “fishing boats” near the Philippines in April. It also enacted a new law that allows its coastguard to attack virtually any foreign ship entering Chinese waters.
China claims full sovereignty over Taiwan and most of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea.
Author’s Note: President Biden claims to support Taiwan. But China knows that he lacks the backbone to act in an emergency. With Hong Kong all but conquered, we can expect China to make its move against Taiwan very soon.