The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and its escorts were conducting maneuvers around Taiwan, the Chinese military said in a statement on Monday.
“This was a routine training exercise organized according to the annual work plan to test the effectiveness of the training of troops and strengthen their ability to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests,” indicates the press release.
Meanwhile, at least 10 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fighter jets, including four J-16 and four J-10 fighter jets, one Y-8 anti-submarine warplane, and one aircraft KJ-500 early warning, entered Taiwan’s self-declared air. Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration defines an ADIZ as “a designated area of airspace above land or water in which a country requires the immediate and positive identification, location and control of the aircraft. air traffic of aircraft in the interest of the national security of the country ”.
The PLA kept pressure on Taiwan on Wednesday, sending 15 fighter jets to the island’s ADIZ, the Defense Ministry said.
For its part, the US Navy showed its flag around the island on Wednesday as the guided missile destroyer USS John S McCain crossed the Taiwan Strait, the waterway that separates the island from mainland China.
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said US Navy 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Mark Langford in a statement.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of nearly 24 million people off the southeast coast of mainland China, even though the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that Beijing will never allow the island to become formally independent and has refused to rule out the use of force, if necessary, to retake the island.
Tensions around Taiwan have escalated in recent months as Taipei garnered U.S. support in the form of new military hardware, an agreement between the U.S. and Taiwanese coast guards, and strong statements of support. of the administration of US President Joe Biden.
“Our commitment to Taiwan is strong,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Wednesday.
“We have, of course, noted with great concern the pattern of ongoing PRC efforts and attempted intimidation in the region, including in the context of Taiwan,” he said.
“The United States retains the ability to resist any use of force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of the people of Taiwan,” Price told reporters in the Department of Taiwan. State.
“China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undermine democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and claim maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law, ”Blinken said.
“We will push back if necessary when China resorts to coercion or aggression to succeed.”
A “ warning ” from Beijing
China’s maneuvers on Monday demonstrated its military superiority over Taiwan, Shi Hong, editor-in-chief of Chinese magazine Shipborne Weapons, said in a Global Times report.
The exercise showed that the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) is able to surround the island of Taiwan, isolate its troops and leave them nowhere to go and no chance of winning if the circumstances arise “Shi said.
The exercises also sent a message to the United States and Japan, Shi added. Since any US and Japanese military intervention would likely come from the east, China, by exercising its carrier group there, has demonstrated that it can cut that aid, Shi said.
Western analysts said China failed to demonstrate new capabilities during Monday’s exercises.
In fact, a Chinese carrier in the open Pacific could play on one of the US Navy’s forces – its nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), said Thomas Shugart, senior researcher at the Center for a New American. Security and former Captain of the US Navy.
“A Chinese carrier operating east of Taiwan is not particularly valuable being used like this, as it could be quite vulnerable operating this far – in deep SSN infested waters and beyond the integrated air defense umbrella / SAM from China, ”Shugart said.
But the Chinese military has made a political statement, analysts said.
“This is a warning to Taiwanese and others that Beijing deemed to undermine its interests, especially the Americans,” said Collin Koh, a researcher at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
Koh points out that a group of PLA Navy aircraft carriers have operated in eastern Taiwan at least twice before.
This Chinese activity should continue. The APL said in its statement that carrier operations such as the one held on Monday would occur on a regular basis.
US carrier operates in South China Sea
While the Chinese aircraft carrier carried out exercises off Taiwan, a US Navy aircraft carrier strike group carried out its own operations. in the South China Sea.
“It is great to be back in the South China Sea to reassure our allies and partners that we remain committed to the freedom of the seas,” said Rear Admiral Doug Verissimo, Commander of Carrier Strike Group 9 , in a press release.
“While in the South China Sea, the strike group will conduct rotary and fixed-wing air operations, maritime strike exercises, anti-submarine operations, coordinated tactical training, and more,” said the press release from the 7th Fleet.
Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea’s 1.3 million square kilometers as its sovereign territory, and in recent years has built military fortifications on several islands.
He says the presence of foreign military forces like the US aircraft carrier strike group is fueling tensions in the region.