According to Taiwan, China conducted what seemed to be a second day of military training exercises under the command of the Shandong aircraft carrier, sending 10 navy boats and 68 military aircraft into the vicinity of the self-governing island.
Beijing has increased military and political pressure on the democratic island in an effort to bolster its claim of sovereignty. Beijing sees Taiwan as its own territory and has not ruled out using force to achieve its objectives.
According to a statement from Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, the Chinese army and navy had “sixty-eight PLA aircraft and 10 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected” by approximately 6am on Thursday.
The amount represented a sharp increase from the previous day, when Taipei reported having found 35 airplanes.
Some of those aircraft and warships, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, were en route to an unidentified region of the Western Pacific to “conduct joint sea and air training with the Shandong aircraft carrier.”
One of China’s two active aircraft carriers, according to the report, was around 60 nautical miles (111 kilometers) southeast of the southernmost tip of the island and was sailing toward the Western Pacific.
Japan also observed Chinese ships passing through the Miyako Strait on their way to the region.
China has not made any official statements regarding any nearby military drills.
In order to demonstrate that the Taiwan Strait and the contentious South China Sea are international waterways, the US and its allies have recently boosted “freedom of navigation” crossings of both in recent months.
China, on the other hand, has been stepping up military activities around Taiwan while denouncing what it terms “collusion” between the US and purported pro-Taiwan independence forces.
After President Tsai Ing-wen met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California in April, Beijing held military drills to mimic the encirclement of Taiwan.
Days of war games were also held in August 2022 following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, McCarthy’s predecessor.