The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force last month made 446 incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Defense Post reported on Thursday.
Last month’s incursions far surpassed the number recorded during the whole of 2020, the report said.
“The median line [of the Taiwan Strait] has long been seen as a way to avoid conflict, but China has begun whittling away at it,” Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program at think tank the German Marshall Fund of the US, was cited by Voice of America as saying in a report on Friday.
Photo: AFP / The Ministry of National Defense
China would likely conduct more exercises with the aim of “narrowing Taiwan’s operating space and calling into question its claim to an ADIZ and an [exclusive economic zone],” the report quoted her as saying.
Putting last month’s 446 incursions into context, the report cited publicly available information from the Taiwan ADIZ Violations Tracker database showing that there were only 23 such incursions between September 2020 and July 31.
“They are seeking to wear down Taiwan’s pilots and maintenance crews and instill a sense of psychological despair among the population,” Voice of America quoted Glaser as saying.
Crystal Tu (杜貞儀), assistant research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said that despite US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Aug. 2 and 3 — which China has used as an excuse for the incursions — China would eventually have ramped up its military exercises anyway.
The visit was merely a “trigger,” pushing China to do so sooner, she said.
In related news, a military source in Taipei yesterday said that the army plans to hold live-fire exercises in southern Taiwan this week that would test the combat capabilities of its various units.
The Eighth Army Corps would hold the regular Lien Yung drill in Pingtung County’s Joint Operations Training Base Command from tomorrow to Friday, said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.
The army’s Combined Arms Battalion, snipers, tanks, armored vehicles and mortars would be tested during the four-day live-fire exercises, the source said.
The Aviation and Special Forces Command would also dispatch AH-64E Apache and AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters to join the exercises, the source added.
The Lien Yung drill is normally held six times a year. It is the armed forces’ second-largest drill, following the annual Han Kuang exercises that involve all branches of the military.
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