China has threatened Taiwan’s independence with Operation Joint Sword, which is a retaliatory response to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s recent trips to the US and Latin America seeking support. The Taiwanese government reported that 59 Chinese aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait’s median line on Monday and entered the nation’s air defence zone. China is currently running a three-day war game called Operation Joint Sword, where it is rehearsing an encirclement of Taiwan. The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command has said that Monday is the last day of the operation.
The nation’s defence ministry has detected 11 Chinese warships around the island. China wants to “reunify its neighbour with the motherland” and views democratic, self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory. China has vowed to take Taiwan one day, by force if necessary. The independence of Taiwan is under threat due to China’s stance.
Operation Joint Sword is a retaliatory response to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other US lawmakers. She also visited Latin American nations seeking support, but her allies in the lower half of the Americas are dwindling as they have traditionally held close ties with Beijing.
On Saturday and Sunday, a combined total of 125 aircraft and 11 Chinese warships were spotted across the island. The AFP cited its own data, saying that Saturday’s incursions were the highest this year. China deployed warships, missiles, and fighter jets around Taiwan in its largest show of force in years in August last year after McCarthy’s predecessor, Democrat veteran leader Nancy Pelosi, visited the island and met President Tsai.
During the drills, China showed off a wide array of military equipment and weapons. The Chinese PLA used state-of-the-art J-16s, built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and J-10C fighter jets. The J-16s are capable of carrying both close- and long-range missiles and were previously used to enter Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
China has also deployed warships and frigates and sent the Type 052C destroyer and the Type 054A frigate to the Taiwan Strait. It has also carried out simulations of an invasion using YJ-12B land-based anti-ship missiles and DF-11 and DF-15 short-range conventional ballistic missiles. The YJ-12B land-based anti-ship missiles have a range of 460 kilometres and are capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads, according to the US-based Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.
The Global Times and other state-run media outlets have taken an adversarial tone towards Taiwan but have placed the blame on the US through its editorials and coverage.