China sent a record number of warplanes, 148 over the past week, to the island’s air defense identification zone as part of its strategy to step up its military intimidation against autonomous democracy. and to test its air defenses.
On Monday, a record 56 Chinese fighter jets burst into Taiwan’s airspace, prompting the Taipei Defense Ministry to scramble its air defense system and issue warnings. The show of force marked the fourth consecutive day of intrusions by planes belonging to the People’s Liberation Army. Taiwan called the incursions “irresponsible provocative actions,” while the United States, Japan and Australia urged China to end its military threats.
The satellite image showing Chinese air bases near eastern Taiwan was released by a Canada-based company Kanwa Defense Review and it shows a J-16D fighter plane housed at an air base in Jiangxi province, China.
Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of the defense magazine, said satellite images showed the J-16D was deployed to Xiangtang Air Base in Nanchang, Jiangxi, in May. A satellite image showed hangars at the air base that could accommodate advanced fighter jets like the J-16D.
A separate image from January showed another air base in Changxing County, Zhejiang Province, being expanded with new hangars and other infrastructure being built.
The two air bases are managed by the Eastern Theater Command of the PLA, according to South China morning post.
“All air bases along the southeast coast are being expanded and modernized to house more fighter jets as more and more large-scale air incursions are underway,” Chang said. “The deployment of 52 aircraft [in the first sortie] on Monday shows the PLA aviation combat force. I expect more types of PLA planes to be sent in the future, with larger sorties involving over 100 [planes]. »
An PLA source in Beijing, China, on condition of anonymity, confirmed South China Morning Post that the J-16D fighter plane had been deployed to an eastern air base near Taiwan. He said military activity near Taiwan was “part of combat readiness.”
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he had spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping about Taiwan.
Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-Cheng told the island’s parliament that tensions with China were at their worst in 40 years. He also warned that Beijing may have the capacity to mount a full-scale invasion of the Democratic Island by 2025.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, also called China’s recent actions around Taiwan “provocative” and warned of the risks of “miscalculation”.