China‘s military is practising ship-launched attacks on Taiwan from the east, according to information supplied by Taiwan’s Defence Ministry on Monday, as Beijing’s retaliatory military drills started their third day.
The Ministry did not specify the whereabouts of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ships it had spotted, but a map of PLA aircraft detections shows four J-15 fighter planes east of Taiwan in the western Pacific on Saturday, according to the Guardian.
The J-15s had never been spotted inside Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ), and are believed to have been fired from two PLA aircraft carriers, including the Shandong, which Taiwan and Japan had observed travelling through Taiwan into waters to the south-east late last week.
Japan stated on Monday that its military had responded to the drills by scrambling jets in reaction to PLA aircraft launches.
In reaction to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-meeting wen’s with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles last week, Beijing initiated three days of military drills targeting Taiwan on Saturday.
The drills have not matched the scale of those launched in retaliation for McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi’s, Taipei visit, which included missile launches, but they do appear to show an escalation in the Chinese military’s training for strikes on Taiwan, observers said, according to the Guardian.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry discovered 70 PLA planes and 11 ships within the ADIZ.
The ADIZ is a broad region that is monitored for defence purposes, and no PLA assets entered sovereign Taiwan territory.
However, the Ministry stated that 35 of the planes had violated the median line, which serves as a de facto boundary in the Taiwan Strait’s international waters.
According to independent defence expert Ben Lewis, the firing of J-15s indicated that the PLA was “practising strikes on Taiwan from an encirclement-style posture.”