Saturday, August 6, 2022

China provokes US to strike first over Taiwan..well done Nancy

 China provokes US to strike first over Taiwan..well done Nancy

20 Chinese warplanes, 14 warships deployed around Taiwan: MND

Taiwan's Navy monitors a PLA Ma'anshan-class frigate in waters off eastern Taiwan. Image source: 

Taipei, Aug. 6 (CNA) China continued to send military planes and ships into sea areas around Taiwan on Saturday in retaliation for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan earlier this week, deploying 20 aircraft and 14 vessels as of 5 p.m.

A total of 14 aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND), which strongly condemned the intrusions and said it would take action to safeguard the country's security, democracy and freedom.

A day earlier, China deployed 68 warplanes and 13 vessels as part of four days of live-fire military drills in six maritime areas around Taiwan that began Thursday, a day after Pelosi concluded her 19-hour visit to Taiwan.

At least 30 of those aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, the MND said.

The median line serves as an unofficial border separating Taiwan and China and breaching it represents a more aggressive posture than Beijing's frequent sorties into Taiwan's air defense identification zone over the past two years.

Taiwan's military monitors Chinese military movements with a PAC-3 missile air defense system. Photo: Military News Agency

In related news, the Military News Agency reported Saturday that Taiwan's Air Force has been deploying its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile air defense system to track and monitor Chinese military movements.

The Air Defense and Missile Command is able to respond to emergencies at any time to defend the country's airspace, the report said.

Meanwhile, the Army's Kinmen Defense Command said three unmanned aerial vehicles were spotted late Saturday in the vicinity of the offshore county, which lies just a few kilometers from the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen.

The drones were spotted flying over restricted waters around Kinmen County's main island and the nearby Beiding islet, according to the Kinmen command, and the Army responded by firing warning flares to repel them.

In another development Saturday, the authenticity of a Xinhua News Agency military photo posted on its online homepage that was said in the caption to be taken Friday has been called into question.

It depicted a Chinese soldier aboard a People's Liberation Army (PLA) vessel just off the east coast of Taiwan observing a Taiwanese warship in the distance with binoculars.

A "tall chimney-like structure" could be seen in the background, and was thought to be the site of the Ho-Ping Power Plant in Hualien County.

In a Facebook post Saturday, a Hualien-based whale-watching boat operator questioned the authenticity of the photo, believing that it was edited, as there were no sightings of Chinese warships reported among fishermen or whale-watching boat operators that day.

Huang Chien-liang (黃建亮), a seasoned photographer who teaches at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei, said the photo appeared to be photoshopped, as the background images showing the Hualien mountains and the Taiwanese vessel looked compressed.

According to Huang, either the soldier or the vessel could have been cropped into the photo, which was of very low resolution.

Taiwan has accused China of attempting to use psychological warfare during the campaign in many ways, including by posting fake photos of its operations through its state media.

#ROCNavy Destroyer Magong has watched the movement of PLAN frigate Maanshan. Security can be found where we are as our sailors patrolling our territory through night and day and upholding our sovereignty.

Record-Breaking 68 Chinese Warplanes Just Flew Into The Taiwan Strait

This is the biggest force of Chinese military aircraft to enter the Taiwan Strait in one day and it comes as China-U.S. relations deteriorate.

AUG 5, 2022 
Record-Breaking 68 Chinese Warplanes Just Flew Into The Taiwan Strait

Chinese military launched short-range ballistic missiles, or SRBMs, directly over Taiwan yesterday, starting its planned four-day series of live-fire exercises close to the island, tensions remain high in the Taiwan Strait, with a record-breaking number of Chinese aircraft, plus warships, entering the area today. Beijing has now also severed some of its relationships with the United States on a range of important issues. At the same time, however, the United States has taken measures to try and reduce tensions with China, including postponing a planned test of an LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Military drills by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, have continued around Taiwan for a second day, including further accounts of Chinese aircraft and warships crossing the median line in the Taiwan Strait, which serves as a de facto boundary between the island and the mainland. Crossing the median line is itself not an uncommon occurrence, as we have discussed in the past, but it's the scale at which it is happening now that is most concerning.

A Su-30 Flanker fighter jet of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese PLA conducts operations around Taiwan, August 4, 2022. 

While providing very few details, the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command has confirmed that air and sea combat drills are continuing to the north, southwest, and east of Taiwan, as the Chinese military works “to test the troops’ joint combat capabilities.”

PLA aircraft and ships continue to gather in the Taiwan Strait, and in unprecedented numbers, at least in comparison with recent times. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, today saw 68 PLA aircraft and 13 warships underway in the strait — previously, the biggest number of aircraft to enter the strait in a single day was 56, recorded in October last year.

In total, today’s PLA aircraft entering the strait comprised seven J-10, six J-11, 10 J-16, and 24 Su-30 fighter jets, as well as single examples of Y-8 electronic warfare and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

Taiwan Ministry of National Defense

Of this most recent total, the ministry says that 49 aircraft actually crossed over to the east side of the median line, while 19 others remained on the west side. Of course, the median line is an unofficial buffer and is not recognized by Beijing, which views Taiwan as a rogue province that is fully within its sovereign territory.

A different perspective on these latest operations was provided to Reuters by an anonymous source in Taiwan. They claimed that “around 10 Chinese navy ships crossed the median line and remained in the area on Friday morning, and about 20 Chinese military aircraft briefly crossed the median line.”

It’s worth noting, too, that a previous incident involving a large-scale crossing of the median line by the PLA came on September 19, 2020, and coincided with a visit to Taiwan by the then U.S. Under Secretary of State Keith Krach.

According to the Republic of China Armed Forces, it responded to the PLA activity “with surveillance systems, [combat air patrol] aircraft, naval vessels, and missile systems. We condemn such action that disturbed our surrounding airspace and waters and continue to ensure our democracy and freedom free from threats.”

In the past four days, according to Taiwan, a total of 138 PLA aircraft have taken part in maneuvers near Taiwan. However, these may not have all been in the Taiwan Strait, let alone crossing the median line. It’s worth noting that Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, covers not only the entirety of the strait but also portions of mainland China, too, as indicated by the black box in the graphic seen further up in this article.

Aside from aircraft and ships, the PLA has reportedly also continued to test missiles, after the launch yesterday of DF-15 SRBMs, as many as four of which flew over Taiwan’s capital, while five landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense. This led to a diplomatic protest by Tokyo.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said today that the Eastern Theater Command fired “new versions of missiles” that hit unidentified targets in the Taiwan Strait “with precision.” This could refer to unconfirmed reports of a possible new DF-16ZD missile, apparently a new variant of the road-mobile, DF-16 SRBM.

The United States has slammed Beijing for the “provocative” maneuvers, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying there was “no possible justification” for them, while being careful to stress that the United States seeks to avoid a crisis over the maneuvers.

Multiple rocket launchers, apparently 370mm caliber PHL-16s, from the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese PLA conduct long-range live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait, August 4, 2022. 

Blinken described the drills as an “overreaction” by China to the visit to Taiwan by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi earlier this week, which you can read more about here. Beijing says that the visit was a “vicious and provocative action.”

Blinken confirmed that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan also remains in the area and that the U.S. military would continue to fly, sail, and operate in accordance with international law — including maritime transits of the Taiwan Strait.

The United States has also now summoned the Chinese ambassador to the White House to discuss Beijing’s actions.

“After China’s actions overnight, we summoned Ambassador Qin Gang to the White House to démarche him about the PRC’s provocative actions,” White House spokesman John Kirby said in a statement provided to the Washington Post. “We condemned the PRC’s military actions, which are irresponsible and at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

White House spokesman Kirby also confirmed that the United States had postponed a previously planned test of a Minuteman III ICBM this week due to the tensions with China.

“While China is conducting destabilizing military exercises around Taiwan, the United States is instead displaying the behavior of a responsible nuclear power, reducing the risk of miscalculation,” Kirby said.

This is the second time this year that a planned Minuteman III launch has been scrubbed by the Pentagon, following a postponement in March. That earlier decision was taken to avoid doing anything that could “be misunderstood or misconstrued” by the Kremlin in light of heightened tensions around the war in Ukraine.

Test launches of the Minuteman III are a fundamental part of evaluating the ICBM and gathering data to keep the system effective, including validating its readiness and accuracy, and you can read more about them here.

Beijing has meanwhile doubled down on its response to Pelosi’s trip, announcing sanctions against her and her family, while the Chinese Foreign Ministry has terminated cooperative relationships with the United States on a range of issues.

On a military level, these include working meetings between the respective defense ministries and dialogues between the leaders of Chinese and U.S. military theaters. Other relationships affected by the move include talks on the climate crisis, cross-border cooperation on crime, immigration and anti-drug policies, and a consultation mechanism on maritime military safety between China and the United States. Of these measures, the Chinese statement says that the defense ministry working meetings, communication between military theaters, and the maritime military safety agreement meetings have been outright canceled, while the others have been suspended, suggesting those measures may only be temporary.

With six PLA-declared exercise zones encircling Taiwan, this has also affected shipping in the region, resulting in delayed journeys that have reportedly already been felt within regional and global supply chains.

Indeed, there has been some speculation that it’s the PLA’s ability to enforce a maritime blockade on Taiwan that could potentially be the most worrying aspect of these maneuvers, in regard to a future operation directed against the island.

“In my view, the larger threat is that China is doing a rehearsal for a blockade, demonstrating it can block Taiwan’s ports and airports, and prevent shipping,” said Bonnie Glaser, a Washington-based Asia security specialist at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Earlier today, photos appeared on social media purportedly taken from an unidentified Taiwanese freighter. These apparently show a Republic of China Navy’s Cheng Kung class frigate closely shadowing a PLA Navy warship, the Type 052C destroyer Changchun. The encounter reportedly took place off the southwest coast of the port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Taiwan has reiterated that it has no wish to provoke a conflict and that it’s ready to defend its sovereignty and national security. “We are calm and not impetuous, we are rational and not provocative, but we will also be firm and not shirk,” said President Tsai Ing-wen in a video message. “Taiwan will never be knocked down by challenges.”

A fully armed Republic of China Air Forces Mirage 2000-5 fighter jet taxis on a runway in front of a hangar at the Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu on August 5, 2022. 

As diplomatic relations between China and the United States — not to mention many other members of the international community — continue to worsen, all eyes are understandably upon Taiwan. Judging by today’s developments, however, the PLA is in no hurry to scale back these unprecedented maneuvers around the island, despite widespread condemnation.READ NOW

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