Tensions escalate: Taiwan responds swiftly to Chinese military incursion near its borders

Following reports of seven Chinese military aircraft and four navy vessels approaching Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defence in Taiwan moved swiftly to respond. As China’s “grey zone” tactics increase, tensions in the region continue.

According to a recent development, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) announced that from the morning of January 30 to the morning of January 31, seven Chinese military aircraft and four naval vessels were spotted cruising around Taiwan. As revealed by Taiwan’s MND, Taiwan immediately responded to this provocative move by deploying its aircraft and naval vessels, strengthening its air defence missile systems, and closely monitoring the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s movements.

Notably, the MND made clear that not a single aircraft belonging to the People’s Liberation Army crossed the median line across the Taiwan Strait or entered Taiwan’s southwest Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) during the allotted time frame. This denotes a precarious balance amid the region’s ongoing geopolitical conflicts.

Taiwan has demonstrated vigilance throughout January, tracking and reporting 298 Chinese naval vessels and military aircraft. China is said to have increased the deployment of “grey zone” tactics since September 2020, progressively placing military planes and naval vessels near Taiwan. Beyond steady-state deterrence, grey zone strategy entails a range of actions meant to accomplish security goals without involving a substantial and direct use of force.

Parallel to this, on January 31st, the Zuoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung hosted a marine exercise by the Taiwanese Marine Corps. The drill, which simulated naval surveillance and combat operations to get ready for a hypothetical defence against a Chinese invasion, included a mine-laying vessel and an assault boat that was built in the country. According to a report citing the Central News Agency (CNA), the purpose of the drills in the waters surrounding Zuoying Harbour was to evaluate the Marine Corps’ capability to promptly identify China’s military manoeuvres and appraise their readiness for conflict.

A minelayer and an M109 assault boat were used by Taiwan’s Navy to conduct an emergency harbour departure during the drill. Drones and radar devices were used for monitoring, and alerting battleship forces of the approach of enemy forces, among other things.