China raises tension in the Taiwan Strait: it redeployed one of its aircraft carriers

A jet fighter takes off from the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, south of Okinawa prefecture on April 10, 2023. (Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Japan/REUTERS) (MINISTRY OF DEFENSE OF JAPAN/)

A Chinese naval formation led by aircraft carrier Shandong” crossed the Strait again on Monday Taiwanaccording to the Taipei Ministry of Defense.

The aircraft carrier group entered the strait that separates the island from mainland China, crossing it from north to south, the Ministry of Defense indicated.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense closely followed all these movementsaccording to the official statement collected by the official news agency CNA.

He added that “security and prosperity” throughout the Asia-Pacific region was “an obligation and responsibility” shared by all parties.

“The army will continue to strengthen its self-defense capacity and respond to regional threats,” the ministry added.

The “Shandong” has sailed through the Taiwan Strait several times in recent monthsbut it’s the first time he’s done it this month.

A helicopter takes off from the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, over the waters of the Pacific Ocean (Reuters)
A helicopter takes off from the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, over the waters of the Pacific Ocean (Reuters) (DEFENSE MINISTRY OF JAPAN/)

The deployment comes just over a month before Taiwan holds elections for president and legislature and raises questions about possible Chinese efforts to influence the vote.

The Taiwan authorities had already reported in recent days of other Chinese military movements in the vicinity of the islandthat the regime of Xi Jinping claims as its own territory under the “one China” doctrine.

Chinese aircraft surveillance and deployment balloon

Last Friday, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said it sighted a chinese military surveillance balloon in the Taiwan Strait, in addition to a Beijing’s large-scale deployment of military aircraft and ships.

The balloon passed southwest of the port city of Keelungin the north of the island, on Thursday night and continued moving in an easterly direction before disappearing, possibly in the Pacific Ocean, the Ministry explained.

There seemed to be some uncertainty as to whether the balloon was operated by the People’s Liberation Army, the military branch of China’s ruling Communist Party. The ministry referred to it as the “PLA surveillance balloon” and the “PRC balloon,” using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China, China’s official name.

Besides, 26 Chinese military aircraft and 10 ships of its Navy were detected in the 24 hours before 6:00 a.m. Friday, he added. Of the planes, 15 crossed the median line that acts as an unofficial division between both sides, which Beijing does not recognize. Some also entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, outside the island’s airspace.

These types of incursions occur regularly as reminder of the threat from China that it will use force to annex the self-ruled island, erode Taiwan’s military capabilities and affect the morale of its armed forces and its population, which remains largely indifferent to Chinese actions.

These missions from China have led to Taiwan to increase purchase of US aircraftits main ally, and to revitalize its own defense industry, including submarine production.

Beijing strongly protests all contacts between the island and the United States, but its aggressive diplomacy has helped build strong bipartisan support for Taipei in Washington.

(With information from AFP, Europa Press and AP)