20 Total Chinese & Taiwan Warships In ‘Close Quarters’ Standoff In Strait As Drills Wind Down
Reuters has described a high-seas “cat and mouse” between Chinese and Taiwan warships which are shadowing each other at a moment China is scheduled to end its military drills surrounding the self-ruled island. The four days of unprecedented drills was slammed by Taipei as simulating an invasion, and saw the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soon after Nancy Pelosi’s departure fire eleven ballistic missiles near Taiwan – some of which reportedly flew over the island.
“About 10 warships each from China and Taiwan sailed at close quarters in the Taiwan Strait, with some Chinese vessels crossing the median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides, according to a person with knowledge of the matter,” Reuters observes of Sunday tensions.
Despite these main drills which occurred in six zones off Taiwan’s coast now coming to a close, Chinese military pressure looks to continue for weeks longer, likely through to the end of the month of August.
China announced a whole new series of military drills near Taiwan, though not as close in proximity to the island as last week’s. China’s Maritime Safety Administration said in a statement that the new PLA drills will kick off in five zones of the Yellow Sea from Aug. 5 to 15. The Washington Post details:
China’s Ministry of Defense did not announce the purpose of the expanded exercises, which come as the visit frayed U.S.-China relations, but they come as Beijing is putting on its greatest show of force around Taiwan since the last cross-strait crisis of 1995 to 1996 — in what it calls a warning to “provocateurs” who challenge Beijing’s claims over Taiwan, the self-governing democracy of 23 million.
The Post further reports the simultaneous drills would take place in four zones of the Bohai Sea for a full month, which start Aug.8.
According to a weekend report in The Guardian:
Taipei said it observed “multiple” Chinese planes and ships operating in the Taiwan Strait, believing them to be simulating an attack on the self-ruled democracy’s main island.
Over the past days of the PLA drills there have been some close-call incidents involving Chinese drone incursions, which have been warned off by Taiwan’s military firing flares, particularly over the Kinmen and Matsu islands.
— 301 Military (@301military) August 4, 2022
Despite the mainstay of PLA drills closest to Taiwan now appearing to be over, the threat of miscalculation and a serious shooting incident sparking broader conflict remains high, especially given the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group is still in the region, with the White House recently saying it would stay near Taiwan waters longer than planned.
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 11:00