China Unleashes "Island Encirclement" War Drills Over Taiwan
It is an uncomfortable time for Taiwan. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began a dangerous “island encirclement” war drill around the country, which on Friday saw bombers and fighter jets simulating strikes on Taiwanese targets for the first time. It seems as Beijing will not wait for reunification; it wishes to intimidate the island into submission beforehand.
China’s air force carried out an operation in its eastern and southern theaters, dispatching bombers and reconnaissance planes around Taiwan on Friday. It was the first time for Su-35 fighter jets to fly over the Bashi Channel in formation with H-6K bombers, a spokesperson said. (Source: People’s Daily, China)
Defense experts told the South China Morning Post that China’s military would increase pressure on Taiwan, with more war drills designed to send a warning message to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“To reinforce the warning to Tsai Ing-wen’s administration, the mainland military would conduct targeted joint operational drills involving ground forces, the navy and the air force to strengthen its presence in the Taiwan Strait,” Song Zhongping, a former member of the PLA’s second artillery corps, the rocket wing’s predecessor.
There is a significant risk that China’s President Xi Jinping could be slowly walking his armed forces into a shooting war with Tawian. In an era of modernizing his military, President Jinping has given PLA generals fancy new weapons and hardware for war preparation purposes.
Military strategiest said Beijing showcased their “precision strike” capabilities and the understanding that the PLA air force has “upgraded deterrence” to the island’s independence-leaning president.
Since the end of the Chinese Civil war in 1949, mainland and Taiwan have had a significant degree of separation. “Taiwan is not like the two Koreas issue, with both sides being seen as equals and allowed to coexist. The message [the air force] wants to send to Taipei is that Taiwan is part of China and should be reunified with Beijing one day,” Beijing-based military expert Zhou Cheming explained.
“The increasing encirclement flights around Taiwan have warned the island’s independence-leaning forces that if they are going to make trouble, the mainland will take more radical moves to take them out,” he added.