Taiwan warns of increased Chinese military activity in Taiwan Strait

August 29, 2023

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday warned of a potential “sharp increase” in tensions as Chinese military crafts undertook crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

The ministry said it had spotted 12 Chinese military aircraft in its air defense identification zone Tuesday morning, including seven of which crossed the median line: six J-10 fighters and one drone.

Five Chinese ships also undertook “combat readiness patrols,” according to the Taiwanese, though the ships’ locations were not specified. 

The median line had for years served as an unofficial barrier between the two sides, until China’s air force began regularly crossing it about a year ago. It’s part of China’s saber-rattling against its self-governing neighbor, Taiwan. The U.S. has suspected for some time that China is planning to invade Taiwan, though it has been watching and waiting to see how Russia fairs in its invasion of Ukraine before going forth with an assault against the island nation, just one hundred miles off China’s coast.

In early June, the U.S. Navy released video of what it called an “unsafe” interaction in the Taiwan Strait by a Chinese destroyer, accusing the Chinese ship of executing “maneuvers in an unsafe manner while conducting a routine south to north Taiwan Strait transit alongside the Halifax-class [Canadian] frigate HMCS Montreal.”

On Tuesday, Taiwan called on the Chinese to “immediately stop such unilateral acts.”

“The continued military harassment by the Communist military in the region may lead to a sharp increase in tensions and worsen regional security,” said the Taiwan Defense Ministry.

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