RRestraint possible When Chinese warplanes and naval vessels simulate an attack on Taiwan, the first word that comes to mind is not “Taiwan.” But China’s response to a possible December 2018 meeting in California between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during the three-day exercise that ended on April 10 was muted. April 5th. Most importantly, China did not launch missiles over or near Taiwan, as it did after former Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governing island in August.
China’s response so far appears to reflect a renewed focus on diplomacy, particularly with European governments, to offset its growing rift with the United States. It could also signal concerns about stoking public opinion in Taiwan ahead of the 2024 presidential election, which Chinese officials hope will lead to friendlier relations with the mainland. Even so, the exercise included several new indicators of how China might try to take the island by force. There are also new signals about how the U.S. and its allies might respond.
Surprisingly the first time a Chinese aircraft carrier has participated in such an exercise, Shandong. As other Chinese forces approached Taiwan from the north, south, and west of Taiwan, Shandong Deployed approximately 320 km eastward, as Jay– 15 fighter jets probe the island’s air defense identification zone. Taiwan said it tracked down 19 of the fighters between April 9 and 10, several of whom carried out such incursions.
Chinese military experts said the exercise was aimed at rehearsing pre-invasion strikes against high-value targets, saying Shandong It could be used to deter foreign powers and strike military assets on Taiwan’s east coast, which is protected by mountains. Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences said China would build more aircraft carriers in the coming years, which would create “stronger siege and strike potential”.
China currently has two aircraft carriers in service, and some experts are skeptical about their utility in the Taiwan war. They would be soft targets for the U.S. if ventured east of Taiwan, and wouldn’t provide much additional capability close to the Chinese coast, since aircraft can reach Taiwan from mainland bases. China also has little experience operating aircraft carriers, launching its first in 2012 — based on an old Soviet hull purchased from Ukraine.
despite this, ShandongThe deployment shows progress in practicing carrier operations. Its emergence as a symbol of military power “is a form of coercion and political warfare,” said Drew Thompson, a former Pentagon official. Chinese carriers could also be effective if China implements a partial blockade or takes other actions than war, making it harder to justify US intervention. A larger Chinese carrier should be operational by 2024, and the other two may be ready by 2031.
It is also worth noting that Japan is monitoring ShandongJapan’s Self-Defense Forces scrambled two destroyers and fighter jets to gather intelligence on the aircraft carrier and other Chinese naval ships escorting it. According to Japan’s defense ministry, they observed about 120 takeoffs and landings from the carrier, 80 of which were fighter jets and 40 helicopters. It released photos of the ship, as well as a map showing its whereabouts.
Japan, the United States’ closest ally in Asia, has previously deployed military assets to monitor Chinese drills, but this was one of its strongest responses. This may indicate closer coordination between the United States and Japan in preparing for a war in Taiwan. It could also be a sign that the U.S. wants to avoid confrontations between its own forces and Chinese forces in such exercises. an American airline, Nimitzis also nearby, but has not publicly stated that it monitors the exercise.
Instead, the United States has emphasized efforts to galvanize alliances in Asia. Shortly before the exercise in China, Nimitz Exercises were conducted with South Korean and Japanese troops. On April 11, the United States began its largest-ever exercise with the Philippines, the first live-fire exercise at sea. In February, the United States gained access to four additional bases in the Philippines, which Pentagon planners hope can be used as launch pads to help defend Taiwan.
Meanwhile, among America’s European allies, there are signs of division over Taiwan. In an interview published after a three-day visit to China, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that Europe should not follow the example of the United States on Taiwan, lest it be drawn into “a crisis that is not ours” “. During the Chinese exercise, however, a French frigate sailed through the Taiwan Strait. China, which regularly protests such crossings, has remained silent. Still, it has done little to ease the pressure on Taiwan. After the exercise, daily patrols in the vicinity resumed. ■
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