Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) has reported the tracking of seven Chinese military aircraft and five naval vessels around Taiwan’s territory in a recent 24-hour period. The surveillance, conducted between 6 a.m. on Thursday (Feb. 8) and 6 a.m. on Friday (Feb. 9), highlights ongoing tensions in the region.
According to the MND, three of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft entered the southwest corner of Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ). While none of the aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait median line during this time, the presence of Chinese military assets near Taiwan’s airspace raises concerns about regional security.
Additionally, the MND tracked two Chinese balloons on Thursday, further adding to the surveillance efforts. The first balloon was spotted 144 km northwest of Pingtung at 12:45 p.m., followed by another sighting 81 km northwest of Taichung at 6:35 p.m. Both balloons disappeared later in the day, with the second one travelling over Taiwan before vanishing.
This latest incident adds to the mounting frequency of Chinese military activity near Taiwan. In February alone, Taiwan has already tracked Chinese military aircraft 68 times and naval ships 39 times. Since September 2020, China has been employing grey zone tactics, incrementally increasing the presence of its military assets around Taiwan.
Grey zone tactics refer to efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance, aimed at achieving security objectives without resorting to direct and significant use of force. By employing such tactics, China seeks to assert its influence in the region and exert pressure on Taiwan without triggering confrontation.
The surveillance of Chinese military activity underscores the ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Taiwan Strait. As Taiwan remains vigilant against potential threats, the situation continues to evolve, with implications for regional stability and security.