PLA Flies Aircraft Over Taiwan Strait to Deter "Taiwan Independence" Forces
(Source: China Military Online; issued June 29, 2020)
The Chinese air force is increasingly flying its aircraft in the Taiwan Strait, which it considers as its territorial waters based on its claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, in what it describes as an effort to deter Taiwan independence forces. (PLA photo)
According to Taiwan media reports, military aircraft of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) appeared once more over Taiwan on June 26. Since the US transport aircraft flew over Taiwan on June 9, raising the level of provocation, PLA military aircraft have entered Taiwan's southwestern "airspace" eight times.

Why does the PLA frequently display its strength over Taiwan now? For one thing, this is closely related to the situation change across the Taiwan Strait.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, it has become a common practice for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities to use the outbreak to seek so-called "Taiwan independence" and to strengthen its ties with the US. This practice will inevitably aggravate the already complicated, and grim situation across the Taiwan Strait. Therefore, it's quite natural for the PLA aircraft' frequent visits over the Taiwan Strait.

For another, this is a response and counter-measure to the hostile provocation of the US.

For some time, the US destroyers, reconnaissance aircraft, drones, etc., have frequently appeared over the Taiwan Strait with its presence growing. Even, it has pulled off the veil of the so-called "freedom of navigation", and directly sent military transport aircraft to fly over Taiwan. The PLA has always maintained high-level vigilance against such provocative actions.

Chieh Chung, a research fellow at a local think tank the National Policy Foundation, previously analysed that since the PLA Air Force took steps toward becoming an expeditionary air force, the Bashi Channel has become an important air corridor for the PLA's systematic air force to enter the Western Pacific. The PLA has thereby strengthened control over the airspace near the south end of the so-called "middle line" of the Taiwan Strait and the southwest corner of Taiwan’s so-called "air defense identification zone" to ensure the security of the north wing of the corridor.

China's Ministry of National Defense (MND) has used the word "seriously" three times in response to the frequent presence of US warships and aircraft over the Taiwan Strait. Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, a spokesperson for the MND, said that in recent years, the US has continued to take negative actions on Taiwan. Its practices have seriously interfered in China's internal affairs, seriously undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, seriously poisoned the relations between China and the US and their militaries, and sent wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" separatists.

These actions are extremely dangerous. China will never allow foreign forces to play the so-called "Taiwan card" and will never tolerate any form of secessionist plots and actions.

With regard to the presence of PLA military aircraft over the Taiwan Strait, Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command, once made a speech on the combat readiness patrol of the PLA air and naval forces. He said that Taiwan and its affiliated islands have been an integral part of the Chinese territory, and that the Chinese military's combat readiness patrol therein is fully legitimate. It is a necessary action targeting the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait.

The troops of the PLA Eastern Theater Command have the determination and ability to defeat all secessionist activities, resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

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