Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) reported the detection of five Chinese military vessels and two aircraft operating in the vicinity of Taiwan between 6 am (local time) on Sunday and 6 am (local time) on Monday. The MND’s alert follows a series of similar incidents, heightening tensions in the region.
In response to the Chinese military activity, Taiwan swiftly deployed aircraft and naval ships, along with air defence missile systems, to closely monitor the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) movements. The MND clarified that, during the specified time frame, no PLA aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait median line or entered the southwest corner of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
According to the MND’s statement on social media platform X, “2 PLA aircraft and 5 PLAN vessels operating around Taiwan were detected up until 6 a.m. (UTC+8) today. #ROCArmedForces have monitored the situation and employed appropriate forces to respond.”
This incident marks the latest in a series of provocations, with Taiwan reporting 27 Chinese military aircraft and 19 naval ships detected in February alone. Since September 2020, China has been employing gray zone tactics, gradually increasing military presence around Taiwan without resorting to direct and sizable force.
Gray zone tactics involve efforts beyond steady-state deterrence, aiming to achieve security objectives without direct and substantial use of force. Taiwan News reported that this strategic approach has become a significant part of China’s regional maneuvers.
On February 4, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence reported another incident involving seven PLA aircraft and four PLAN vessels. One of the aircraft reportedly crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ. The #ROCArmedForces responded by monitoring the situation and employing appropriate forces.
Notably, tensions between Taiwan and China persist as the latter considers Taiwan its own territory, despite never having controlled it. To enhance its defensive capabilities, Taiwan’s Marine Corps conducted a maritime drill on January 31 at the Zuoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung. The drill featured a mine-laying ship and a domestically built assault boat, simulating maritime surveillance and combat operations to counter a potential Chinese invasion.
The exercise tested the Marine Corps’ ability to quickly identify Chinese military movements and showcased their combat preparedness and capability. During the drill, the Taiwan Navy executed emergency departures from the harbour, employing radar systems, drones, and other measures to alert battleship forces of approaching hostile forces and respond effectively to China’s “gray zone” actions near Taiwan while ensuring maritime safety.