First Significant Chinese Military Maneuvers Post Taiwan’s Recent Elections Reported

On Wednesday evening, Taiwan’s defense ministry reported the detection of 18 Chinese air force planes engaging in “joint combat readiness patrols” with Chinese warships near Taiwan. This marked the first significant military activity following the recent elections.

China, maintaining its perspective of Taiwan as integral to its territory, has consistently deployed warplanes and warships around the island in the last four years. This strategy aims to reinforce sovereignty claims contested by the Taipei government.

In the recent presidential election, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan elected Lai Ching-te as the next president. Beijing has consistently criticized Lai as a dangerous separatist and a potential instigator of conflict.

On Wednesday evening around 7:50 pm (1150 GMT), Taiwan’s defense ministry reported the identification of 18 aircraft, including Su-30 fighters. These aircraft were observed operating in the northern and central regions of Taiwan, as well as to the southwest of the island.

Remarkably, eleven of these aircraft ventured across the median line of the Taiwan Strait or its nearby regions. In a coordinated effort, they engaged in “joint combat readiness patrols” alongside Chinese warships, as detailed by the ministry.

The Median Line, Once Considered A Barrier, Is Now Routinely Crossed By Chinese Aircraft.

The unofficial boundary represented by the median line in the strait used to act as a sort of unspoken divide between the two sides. However, Chinese aircraft now routinely traverse it, asserting that they do not acknowledge the line’s existence.

In response, Taiwan deployed its own forces to keep a close eye on the situation, as confirmed by the defense ministry. A statement from the ministry emphasized the interconnectedness of the security and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait region with global development and stability. It asserted that all parties in the region share the obligation and responsibility for this.

Highlighting a commitment to fortifying self-defense capabilities based on perceived threats and needs, the statement affirmed the military’s readiness to address regional threats.

As of now, there has been no immediate reaction from China’s defense ministry.

Earlier in the day, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office clarified that Beijing’s stance, not ruling out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, was directed at countering foreign interference and a small group of separatists. Simultaneously, it urged the Taiwanese to reconsider any “biases” against China.

Lai, set to assume office on May 20, has consistently expressed a willingness to engage in talks with China, but such proposals have been met with rejection. He emphasizes the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the strait while asserting that the future of Taiwan should be determined solely by its people.

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