By Ryan Mills. Media: National Review.
China sent 71 aircraft and seven ships toward Taiwan on Sunday and early Monday in a show of power that a Chinese military spokesman said was in response to U.S. “provocation.”
The Chinese planes included a swarm of at least three-dozen fighter jets, along with drones and other aircraft, according to media reports. Dozens of the Chinese planes crossed over the median of the Taiwan Strait, the unofficial buffer separating the island and mainland China, according to the Associated Press.
Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army, said the joint combat patrols and strike drills around Taiwan are part of “a firm response to the current U.S.-Taiwan escalation and provocation.”
The Chinese actions came one day after President Joe Biden signed the $858 billion National Defense Authorization Act that, among other things, authorizes new grants and loans for Taiwan, authorizes enhanced training and security assistance for Taiwan, and gives the president the authority to send Taiwan up to $1 billion in weapons and ammunition. The legislation also requires expanded cooperation with India on emerging defense technologies, readiness, and logistics, the AP reported.
Although Taiwan is self-ruled, Beijing views it as part of China and for decades has made clear that it intends to annex the island, by force if necessary. China also stepped up military drills and cyberattacks against Taiwan last summer after House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s early-August visit to the island. Pelosi was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.
In September, Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s foreign minister, told reporters that the country must be prepared for an invasion “whenever China thinks the conditions are right.”
The drills China conducted after Pelosi’s visit were “to practice their playbook of their future invasion of Taiwan,” he said. “They put it very simple, they talk about it, and they practice for it, and therefore the threat to Taiwan is real.”