Taiwan Says China Building Airfield Along Coastline to Gain ‘Superior Air Power’

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
September 13, 2023China News
Taiwan Says China Building Airfield Along Coastline to Gain ‘Superior Air Power’
A helicopter and boat under the Eastern Theatre Command of China's military take part in a maritime rescue drill, as part of military exercises in the waters around Taiwan, at an undisclosed location on Aug. 9, 2022. (Eastern Theatre Command/Handout via Reuters)

China has been completing its airfield construction along the coastline facing Taiwan to gain “superior air power” against the self-ruling island, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said.

The ministry released its annual defense report (pdf) on Sept. 12, the first report since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said the report would allow people to understand national security threats.

“We will tell the world with our readiness and combat preparedness that we will not sit and wait for our fate to be decided,” Mr. Chiu stated.

In the report, the ministry said that Beijing was building airfields and stationing new fighters and drones along the coastline of its eastern and southern theatre commands to “put pressure” on Taiwan’s air defense.

The report says that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses “targeted strategic arrangements” and “planned realistic combat training and exercises” to bolster its preparedness against Taiwan.

During its major exercises, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would send reconnaissance aircraft, drones, and spy boats to collect intelligence on Taiwan’s military activities and major weapon systems.

“Based on its operational scenarios against Taiwan over the years, the PLA has been executing a variety of realistic operational training and exercises and is intended to use its cross-island chain long-distance flight and voyage activities to reinforce its potential operations against Taiwan and the capability to deny foreign forces’ involvement,” it says.

The report says that the PLA could potentially enforce blockades on Taiwan’s ports, airports, military facilities, and air and sea lines of communication to achieve its operational goal of “grounding all aircraft and anchoring all vessels.”

At the same time, the Chinese military could disrupt inbound and outbound air and maritime routes to lower Taiwan’s sustainability of defensive operations, it added.

Taiwan to Create Rock-Solid Defense

Taiwan has vowed to create “a rock-solid defense power” and enhance its combat readiness to deter any military threats.

The ministry said the Taiwanese military would monitor obvious indicators of enemy invasion and “preemptively strike its mobilizing invasion forces” with precision weapons.

“We will not yield an inch of our sovereign lands and will be unwavering in upholding democracy and freedom,” Mr. Chiu said in the report.

The CCP regards Taiwan as a renegade province that must be united with mainland China by any means necessary, even as Taiwan has been a self-governing democracy.

Chinese incursions into Taiwan have occurred almost daily as the CCP increased military pressure on the self-ruled island. A total of 35 Chinese warplanes were detected near Taiwan on Sept. 13, with 28 of the detected aircraft crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan’s military also spotted China’s aircraft carrier Shandong sailing into the Western Pacific. Taiwan deployed aircraft, navy vessels, and land-based missile systems in response.

In August 2022, the CCP staged war games around the island after then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Taiwan, firing missiles over Taiwan and declaring no-fly zones along neighboring areas.

Beijing also staged a three-day military drill after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in California in April, sending a record of 91 warplanes and 12 naval vessels toward the island on the final day of its drills.

The ministry said in its report that these two major exercises by the Chinese military were focused on a blockade strategy against Taiwan, wherein the PLA sought to “encircle first and then attack.”

Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in September last year that China has “a very large navy” that can “bully and put ships around Taiwan.”

He could not predict whether the Chinese regime would blockade or launch a full-fledged attack against Taiwan, but said that the U.S. Navy is prepared for any scenario.

“Clearly, if they do something that’s non-kinetic, which, you know, a blockade is less kinetic, then that allows the international community to weigh in and to work together on how we’re going to solve that challenge,” he said.

From The Epoch Times

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