Military Tensions Skyrocket Around Taiwan
Aug. 2, 2022 (EIRNS)—Just hours after Pelosi’s plane landed in Taipei, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced, via Xinhua, that it would be conducting air and naval exercises, to include live-fire drills, in six areas around Taiwan. The accompanying map demarcated the six areas, at a proximity that unambiguously places most within Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone and portions within what would be Taiwan’s territorial waters, were it an independent nation. “For safety reasons, entering of vessels and aircraft to the above-mentioned sea and air space is prohibited,” Xinhua reported. The drills run from noon local time on Aug. 4 to noon on Aug. 7.
One zone is in the Taiwan Strait; two are off the north end of the island; one lies to the east and two more to the south.
Military hardware of both the U.S. and China were already on the move in the hours while Pelosi’s plane was still en route from Malaysia. These comprised four U.S. warships operating in the waters east of Taiwan, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its two escorts and the assault ship USS Tripoli. On the Chinese side there are reported to be PLA exercises ongoing both on the ground in Fujian province and in the air over the Taiwan Strait. A source told Reuters that the Chinese aircraft repeatedly conducted tactical moves of briefly “touching” the median line and circling back to the other side of the strait on Tuesday morning, Aug. 2, while Taiwanese aircraft were on standby nearby.
In response Taiwan’s Defense Ministry “reinforced” its combat alertness level from Tuesday morning to Thursday noon (Aug. 2-4), the island’s official Central News Agency reported today, citing unidentified sources.
In addition, Global Times reported this morning that the PLA Navy has deployed both of its active aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the Shandong, from their home ports. Foreign commercial satellite imageries obtained by the Global Times on Tuesday show that the Liaoning was not in its homeport on Sunday, July 31, a Type 075 amphibious assault ship was sailing in the South China Sea on Sunday, and the aircraft carrier Shandong was sailing in the South China Sea on Monday, Aug. 1.