Philip Lenczycki, DCNF
The Chinese military encircled Taiwan from the east and west, cutting the island off from American and Japanese forces during a large-scale war game which concluded Sunday, Chinese state-run media reported Monday.
China’s Eastern Theater Command executed aerial, naval and ballistic “real force” drills in the waters to the east and southwest of Taiwan from Friday to Sunday, Global Times reported. As the massive Liaoning aircraft carrier fleet moved in from Taiwan’s east, warplanes and additional warships reportedly arrived from the west.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense claims to have spotted 31 Chinese aircraft.
“The latest drills are like a rehearsal of possible real action, but only a partial one,” Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times. “By having the Liaoning aircraft carrier group positioned east of Taiwan, the [People’s Liberation Army (PLA)] not only cuts off possible reinforcements from foreign interference forces, but also launches attacks on military bases east of the Taiwan island, and intercepts any escape attempts from secessionist forces.”
China’s war game comes on the heels of multiple instances of saber-rattling by PLA forces, such as the stalking of the USS Sampson guided-missile destroyer in the Taiwan Strait in April. In early May, the Liaoning aircraft carrier group performed large military drills in the waters near the U.S. naval base in Sasebo, Japan.
Beijing’s show of force is a direct response to U.S. and Japanese “provocations,” Chinese military experts said in a second Global Times article. Remarks made by “influential Japanese politicians” comparing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to a hypothetical Chinese invasion of Taiwan, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan, forced the PLA to launch a “powerful deterrent,” experts told Global Times.
Meanwhile, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group’s last known position was off Taiwan’s east coast on May 2, while the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group was located in the waters near a U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, according to the U.S. Naval Institute fleet tracker.
The presence of the USS Ronald Reagan and Japan’s aircraft carrier Izumo near Taiwan provided the People’s Liberation Army with “perfect practice partners,” anonymous Chinese military analysts told Global Times.
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