The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) latest round of military exercises revealed a new strategy in Beijing’s campaign of intimidation against Taiwan, a defense expert said.
Last month, China launched a three-day drill following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) meeting with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the US, National Defense University researcher Ma Chen-kun (馬振坤) wrote in an article published in the Mainland Affairs Council’s (MAC) latest briefing.
These exercises, named “joint sword,” included 232 air sorties — 134 of which crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait — but did not feature the use of exclusion zones or live-fire maneuvers, he said.
The drills suggest that the PLA has adopted a strategy to regularly and without warning conduct preparedness patrols around Taiwan proper, which cements the notion that the Taiwan Strait is part of China’s territorial waters, he said.
The intended effect of this is to compress Taiwan’s air-sea defensive depth, which allows the PLA to project power into the western Pacific Ocean, and potentially launch an invasion during a supposed patrol, Ma said.
The strategic implications of the preparedness patrols are more of a threat to Taiwan’s security than the high-profile live-fire drills of the past, due to the possibility that the PLA could use the exercises as a smokescreen for an attack, he said.
The PLA likely dispensed with firing missiles during the exercises to avoid raising unwanted attention from the international community, which was counterproductive, he said.
The Chinese forces that took part in the drills conducted rehearsals of maneuvers that would be used in an attack on Taiwan proper, he said, adding that the PLA demonstrated improved capabilities to prevent US forces from aiding the nation.
Although China’s aircraft carriers are inferior to the US’, the PLA could deploy more modern warships, submarines, and ground and air-launched anti-ship missiles, as it would be closer to the warzone, he said.
The PLA is in a stronger position against the US than ever before, and it has capacity for deterrence that it did not have during the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, Ma said.
The urgency displayed by the US in efforts to stock Taiwan with secure ammunition storage is an indication of the dangers, he said.
China’s aggressive use of military exercises not only breached the tacit understanding between Taipei and Beijing to respect the median line, but also significantly increased the risk of inadvertently triggering a conflict through mishap, he said.
The PLA would likely refrain from carving out exclusion zones when it uses military drills to threaten Taiwan, to avoid international censure that disrupting sea communications would spark, he said.
Beijing would exert pressure by increasing the frequency and size of war games, he said.
Two lottery players recently won NT$1 million (US$31,822) prizes on scratch lotto tickets they purchased on the same day at the same store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area. Taiwan Lottery Co said that the lotto wins both happened on “20 million Super Red Envelope” (2,000萬超級紅包) scratch cards sold at a shop on Kunming Street on the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday on Thursday last week. The first of the winners was a married couple, who first won NT$2,000 on a NT$300 scratch lotto card, and then used their winnings to buy a NT$2,000 Super Red Envelope. After noticing that there
CAMBODIAN CON: The two men filmed videos with made-up content with a focus on purported human trafficking, beatings and sexual assaults by scammers Cambodian authorities yesterday sentenced two Taiwanese to two years in prison and a NT$30,000 fine each for staging a kidnapping in the southern coastal city of Sihanoukville which they live streamed online. Chen Neng-chuan (陳能釧), 31, and Lu Tsu-hsien (魯祖顯), 34, were convicted of inciting and causing social disorder a day after Cambodian police officials convened a news conference about their arrest. Chen, who goes by the online name “Goodnight Chicken” (晚安小雞), and Lu, known by the handle “Anow” (阿鬧), must each pay 4 million riels (US$982), according to a court filing. The court said the duo arrived in the Cambodian capital, Phnom
TAKE PRECAUTIONS: Never hike alone and prepare food, water and appropriate equipment for Taiwan’s mountains, particularly in the winter, officials said Two mountain hikers were rescued yesterday, a day after a body was airlifted out of Yushan National Park, one of several deaths related to mountaineering or hiking in the past two weeks, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. A Nantou County mountain rescue team called for a helicopter while responding to a call yesterday morning. They said a woman surnamed Chen (陳), 31, and a man surnamed Lin (林), 32, got lost in the mountains around the Batongguan Historic Trail (八通關古道), while traveling west toward Dongpu Township (東埔). They were directed to a nearby alpine meadow, where the helicopter landed with four
‘CORRECT CALL’: The navy said the captain was right to send crew out to fix an issue with a buoy, and that the buckles connecting two of them to the safety line came loose Equipment and environmental reasons, not human error, were to blame for the loss of three submariners on Dec. 21 last year, the navy said yesterday. The navy would not punish any of the Hai Hu’s (海虎) crew after an investigation determined that the captain was correct in sending crew to retrieve a safety buoy, it said in a news release. Three crew members — a master chief petty officer surnamed Lin (林) and two petty officers surnamed Yen (顏) and Chang (張) — are still unaccounted for after being swept from the submarine’s deck by a wave while trying to retrieve the