NewsTaiwan detects significant Chinese military escalation in strait

Taiwan detects significant Chinese military escalation in strait

Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo
Images source: © East News | Wojciech Strozyk/REPORTER
7:24 AM EDT, March 21, 2024

Taiwanese authorities detected 20 of 32 Chinese fighter jets crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, a de facto boundary between China and Taiwan. Additionally, they identified five warships from the Chinese People's Liberation Army nearby.

On the last day, a significant movement was observed as 20 Chinese jets crossed the median line, marking a noticeable escalation in military activities in the area, as Taipei's defense ministry reported on Thursday. This event represents the second-largest increase in Chinese military presence in the strait since the year began.

Alongside the jets, the defense ministry spotted five Chinese warships near Taiwan.

In reaction to these breaches, Taiwan deployed its fighter jets and naval vessels to monitor the situation and activated its missile defense systems.

The People's Republic of China, under Communist rule, considers the democratic island of Taiwan to be a part of its territory and has not ruled out the use of force to assert control.

Heightened Chinese military activity

Following Taiwan's presidential election on January 13, Vice President Lai Ching-te, viewed by Beijing as a separatist, emerged victorious. Taiwan observed 33 Chinese fighter jets near its airspace in late January and early February. Lai, alongside Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim from the Democratic Progressive Party, is set to take office on May 20.

This week’s surge in military maneuvers around Taiwan might be connected to Hsiao’s recent trip to the Czech Republic. China criticized the visit, arguing it supports Taiwanese independence and undermines stability in the Taiwan Strait.

During this period, some lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties have urged the outgoing President Tsai Ing-Wen to assert Taiwan's sovereignty by visiting Itu Aba island in the South China Sea, a territory also claimed by China. Past presidents have made similar visits.

However, Taiwan’s chief security official cautioned against President Tsai's current visit, citing risks to her flight safety because of "interference from certain countries" and the presence of Chinese military forces.

Related content