20+ PLA Jets Cross Median Line Over Taiwan Strait As Chinese Drills Encircle Island

Update(9:57ET): Less than a half-day after Nancy Pelosi's departure from Taiwan on a US Air Force plane, a large group of 27 Chinese PLA planes breached Taiwan's air defense identification zone Wednesday, crucially with at least 22 of the aircraft reported as having crossed the Taiwan Strait "median line".

20+ PLA Jets Cross Median Line Over Taiwan Strait As Chinese Drills Encircle Island

A map posted to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense showed the brief crossovers by the PLA jets. In response, the ministry said it issued radio warnings and readied air defense missile systems to monitor the activities. Taiwan previously said it won't hesitated to deploy its armed forces to thwart "enemy threats". Already as Pelosi's plane was inbound yesterday from Malaysia Chinese planes and ships had buzzed the median line, which demarcates what the self-ruled island deems its own territorial waters.

20+ PLA Jets Cross Median Line Over Taiwan Strait As Chinese Drills Encircle Island

"27 PLA aircraft (J-11*6, J-16*5 and SU-30*16) entered the surrounding area of R.O.C. on August 3, 2022," Taiwan's military wrote in official social media posts. Earlier in the day state-run English language PRC mouthpiece Global Times declared that Beijing now views the median line has having ceased to exist.

"The exercises are unprecedented as the PLA conventional missiles are expected to fly over the island of Taiwan for the first time, the PLA forces will enter area within 12 nautical miles of the island and that the so-called median line will cease to exist," the publication wrote while detailing the next phase of PLA drills to surround the island.

PLA drills encircling Taiwan (source: Bloomberg Graphics):

20+ PLA Jets Cross Median Line Over Taiwan Strait As Chinese Drills Encircle Island

Taiwan's military has since confirmed breaches of its territorial waters and airspace above "by force" as the PLA continues its threatening tactics...

To review of the latest via Chinese media outlet Global Times:

  • The PLA drills around Taiwan island are unprecedented
  • conventional missiles are expected to fly over the island for the 1st time
  • PLA forces will enter area within 12 nautical miles to the island
  • "median line" ceases to exist

Taiwan has in the last hours issued its own video depicting the military on a high state of alert...

* * *

"Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during her short Wednesday morning meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen after flying into Taipei the night prior on an Air Force jet. "America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad."

She has already departed on Wednesday, amid ongoing Chinese PLA military drills surrounding the self-ruled island on many sides, which are the result of her visit which Beijing has vehemently condemned, with the foreign ministry warning overnight the US will "pay the price"

Taiwan's Tsai, for her part while meeting with Pelosi said, "Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down, we will firmly uphold our nation's sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy."

Tsai bestowed on Pelosi the democratic-island's highest civilian award, called the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon during a live broadcast from the presidential palace.

The Taiwanese president described that it "represented their [Taiwan’s] gratitude to Pelosi and the wish to continue progressing US-Taiwan relations through more cooperation." Pelosi later posted on Twitter that it was a "symbol of America’s strong and enduring friendship."

China's National Defense Ministry in its latest said, "Such an act equals to sealing off Taiwan by air and sea, such an act covers our country’s territory and territorial waters, and severely violates our country’s territorial sovereignty," according to the words by Capt. Jian-chang Yu.

Pelosi Departs Taiwan After Whirlwind Tour As China Declares "Median Line" No Longer Exists
Via Reuters

The part of the PLA drill slated for Thursday will include 'live fire' exercises within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers of Taiwan's shore. The Hill notes it will be "the largest aimed at Taiwan since 1995, when China fired missiles in a large-scale exercise to show its displeasure at a visit by then-Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to the U.S."

Taiwan has already charged China with breaching its territorial waters with the drills that kicked off immediately upon Pelosi landing in Taipei the night before.

Meanwhile, more of China's outrage was on display throughout Wednesday, with Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, previewing to a scheduled media briefing more repercussions and punishment to come.

"As for the specific countermeasures, what I can tell you is that they’ll include everything that should be included,"Hua said. "The measures in question will be firm, vigorous and effective, and the U.S. side and Taiwan independence forces will continue feeling them."

A statement in state-run Global Times has declared the "median line" separating the Taiwan Strait will not longer be recognized. 

"Joint military exercises around the island of Taiwan by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) continued Wednesday with a joint blockade, sea assault and land and air combat trainings, involving the use of advanced weapons including J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-17 hypersonic missiles after the drills started on Tuesday evening, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed on the island which seriously violates China's sovereignty," the provocative statement says.

"The exercises are unprecedented as the PLA conventional missiles are expected to fly over the island of Taiwan for the first time, the PLA forces will enter area within 12 nautical miles of the island and that the so-called median line will cease to exist, experts said, noting that by surrounding Taiwan entirely, the PLA are completely blockading the island demonstrating the Chinese mainland's absolute control over the Taiwan question," the publication adds.

* * *

A summary of overnight activity and Pelosi's post-trip fallout via Newsquawk:

  • US House Speaker Pelosi has concluded her Taiwan visit, has now departed on SPAR19
  • US House Speaker Pelosi said there is bilateral support for Taiwan in the US and that her visit is a reminder of the bedrock promise America to always stand with Taiwan, while she added that the delegation came to Taiwan to make it unequivocally clear that they will not abandon Taiwan. Pelosi also said they explored deepening trade ties with Taiwan and a trade agreement may be imminent, according to Bloomberg and Reuters.
  • Taiwan President Tsai told Pelosi she is one of Taiwan's most devoted friends and the visit shows firm US support for Taiwan, while she thanked Pelosi for her unwavering support of Taiwan on the international stage. President Tsai also said Taiwan will not back down in facing deliberately heightened military threats and Taiwan will do whatever it takes to strengthen its self-defence.
  • White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications Kirby said the US is monitoring Pelosi's travel and has taken measures to ensure her safety, while he added that China has positioned itself to take further steps and the White House expects China to react beyond Pelosi's trip including by scheduling live fire exercises, while other steps by China could include economic coercion, according to Reuters.
  • Taiwan Defence Ministry said Chinese drills have invaded Taiwan's territorial space and they will counter any move that violates Taiwan's territorial sovereignty, while it added that Chinese drills violate UN rules and amount to a blockade of Taiwan's air and sea space, according to Reuters.
  • China's Taiwan Affairs Office said it will take disciplinary actions against two Taiwan foundations which will be banned from financially cooperating with mainland firms and individuals. China also announced a stoppage of certain fruit and fish imports from Taiwan and halted exports of natural sands to Taiwan which is a key component used in chip-making, according to Bloomberg. Furthermore, China will adopt criminal penalties regarding Taiwan separatists and vowed criminal punishments for Taiwan-independence diehards, according to Xinhua.
  • China's Vice Foreign Minister Xie lodged representations regarding Pelosi's Taiwan visit, according to Xinhua.
  • Taiwan is negotiating alternative aviation routes with Japan and the Philippines, according to Taiwanese press.

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from Zerohedge.com)

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