TAIPEI: Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) has detected seven Chinese military aircraft and four naval vessels around Taiwan between 6 am (local time) on Tuesday and 6 am (local time) on Wednesday, Taiwan News reported. Following China’s action, Taiwan sent aircraft and naval ships and deployed air defense missile systems to keep a watch on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) activity, Taiwan’s MND said. According to Taiwan’s MND, no PLA aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait median line or entered Taiwan’s southwest air defence identification zone (ADIZ) during that time.
Meanwhile, one Chinese balloon was detected crossing the median line at 10:30 am (local time) on Tuesday, 119 km (64 NM) northwest of Keelung. The balloon flew east and disappeared at 12:15 pm (local time), according to Taiwan News report. So far in January, Taiwan detected 298 Chinese military aircraft and 136 naval ships. Since September 2020, China has intensified its use of gray zone tactics by incrementally increasing the number of military aircraft and naval ships operating around Taiwan, the report said.
Grey zone tactics is an “an effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempts to achieve one’s security objectives without resort to direct and sizable use of force,” Taiwan News reported. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Marine Corps on Wednesday held a maritime drill at the Zuoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung, featuring a mine-laying ship and a domestically built assault boat that carried out maritime surveillance and combat operations to simulate defending against a Chinese invasion, Focus Taiwan reported citing Central News Agency (CNA).
The manoeuvres, which took place in waters around Zuoying Harbour, were designed to test the Marine Corps’ ability to identify Chinese military movements quickly as well as their combat preparedness and capability, according to CNA report.
During the exercise, the Taiwan Navy made an emergency departure from the harbour with a minelayer and an indigenous M109 assault boat and performed a variety of actions, including surveillance and the use of radar systems and drones to alert battleship forces to approaching hostile forces, the report said.