China’s People’s Liberation Army has conducted a show of force by sending dozens of warplanes, including fighter jets and bombers, toward Taiwan on July 22. This display comes just days before Taiwan plans to hold military exercises aimed at defending itself against a potential invasion. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry reported that a total of 37 aircraft and seven navy vessels were detected during this operation.
Taiwan is preparing to conduct its annual Han Kuang exercise, scheduled for next week. During this exercise, the Taiwanese military will engage in combat readiness drills to enhance its capabilities for preventing and responding to a potential invasion. Additionally, Taiwan will also conduct the annual Wan’an exercises, which are designed to prepare civilians for natural disasters and practice evacuation procedures in the event of an air raid.
During the recent operation, China’s aircraft and navy vessels were observed circumnavigating Taiwan between 6 a.m. on Friday and 6 a.m. on Saturday. Among the aircraft involved were J-10 and J-16 fighters, as well as H-6 bombers. An alarming development was that 22 of the detected warplanes crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait, which had previously been considered an unofficial buffer zone between the island and mainland China. Moreover, some of these aircraft also entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone near its southern region.
Taiwan and China have a long-standing history of political tension since they split in 1949 after a civil war that led to the Communist Party taking control of the mainland. Despite never being governed by the People’s Republic of China, Beijing has consistently maintained its stance on the necessity of reunification with Taiwan.
In recent years, China has displayed its displeasure at perceived political activities in Taiwan by increasing the number of military aircraft sent toward the island. For instance, when former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, China responded with large-scale military drills and missile firings that disrupted trade lanes in the Taiwan Strait and affected flight routes. Similarly, in April, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army conducted significant combat readiness drills in the air and sea surrounding Taiwan, following Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with current U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The situation remains tense as China continues to assert its claims over Taiwan, while the island seeks to bolster its defense capabilities through military exercises and preparedness drills. The international community will be closely monitoring the developments in the region to ensure peace and stability are maintained.