China is bolstering its air power along the coast facing Taiwan with a permanent deployment of new fighters and drones at expanded air bases, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday in its biennial report.
China has ramped up its military activities near Taiwan in response to what Beijing calls “collusion” between Taiwan and the US, and to prevent “Taiwan independence.”
In its National Defense Report, the ministry said China uses “realistic combat training and exercises to strengthen its preparedness against Taiwan.”
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
“The Chinese communists have been completing the expansion of airfields along the coastline of its eastern and southern theater commands, realigning new fighters and drones to be permanently stationed there,” the report said.
China’s frequent drills to Taiwan’s north and south and into the Pacific show its efforts to “intimidate” Taiwan from both its east and west, it said.
Taiwan has been pursuing a strategy of asymmetric defense by improving its long-range, precision, uncrewed, maneuverability and artificial intelligence capabilities.
The ministry said if there were clear signs of a Chinese invasion, it could “pre-emptively strike its mobilizing invasion forces” with precision weapons.
The report outlined the “gray zone” — ostensibly non-military methods — China also uses against Taiwan.
The ministry said that included weather balloons over the Taiwan Strait that are actually for spying purposes, and civilian aircraft used for surveillance.
The report added that as in the Russia-Ukraine war, China is also deploying hybrid warfare to target Taiwan through military coercion and nontraditional threats, including cyberwarfare and cognitive warfare.
In response, the report says that the military is upholding its long-held “resolute defense and multi-domain deterrence” strategic guidance, and continuing to beef up its asymmetrical warfare capabilities in the face of a much stronger opponent.
Learning from the example of Ukraine, Taiwan is also beefing up its defense capabilities by reforming its reservist system by extending compulsory military service from four months to one year starting on Jan. 1 next year and publishing an “all-out-defense” handbook, it said.
Meanwhile, China had 20 naval vessels near Taiwan in the 24 hours leading up to 6am yesterday, the ministry said in a post on X.
The vessels include the Shandong aircraft carrier, which the ministry earlier said was traveling southeast of Taiwan.
Thirteen Chinese military aircraft had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the ministry added.
Speaking on the sidelines of a briefing in Taipei to release a Ministry of National Defense strategy report, Major General Huang Wen-chi (黃文啓) said that Taiwan could expect more of the same from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the future.
“The PLA pressure will continue and we think the pressure tomorrow will be larger than today,” he said. “As of now, we haven’t seen any goodwill from the Chinese Communist Party.”
Huang said the military would continue to monitor the movements of Chinese warplanes and warships.
The USS Ralph Johnson and the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ottawa sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday. The timing coincided with a G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi.
The US routinely sails through the Taiwan Strait in what it calls “freedom of navigation” operations, which China sees as provocative actions.
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