Amid escalating tensions, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry reported that China dispatched dozens of warplanes, comprising fighter jets and bombers, toward the island. This bold show of force comes just days before Taiwan’s scheduled annual Han Kuang exercise, which focuses on military drills aimed at defending against a potential invasion.
The Han Kuang exercise, set to take place in the following week, will see Taiwan’s military engaging in combat readiness drills to thwart any attempted invasion. Additionally, the island will conduct its annual Wan’an exercises, which aim to prepare civilians for natural disasters and practice evacuations in the event of an air raid.
According to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army deployed 37 aircraft and seven navy vessels around Taiwan between 6 a.m. on Friday and 6 a.m. on Saturday. Among these aircraft were J-10 and J-16 fighters, as well as H-6 bombers. Notably, 22 of the detected warplanes crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial boundary acting as a buffer between Taiwan and mainland China. Some aircraft also entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone near its southern part.
The conflict between Taiwan and China originates from their split in 1949 following a civil war that led to the Communist Party assuming control of mainland China. Taiwan has remained a separate entity from the People’s Republic of China, but Beijing insists on reunification with the mainland.
In recent years, China has increasingly displayed its displeasure with political activities in Taiwan by intensifying the number of military planes sent toward the island. For instance, in response to former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, China conducted massive military drills and fired missiles over the island, disrupting trade lanes in the Taiwan Strait and forcing flight reroutes.
In April, the PLA conducted large-scale combat readiness exercises in the air and sea surrounding Taiwan following Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with the current U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The situation remains highly sensitive, and actions from both sides continue to influence regional stability and international relations.