The recent warplane exercises conducted by the People’s Liberation Army of China in Taiwan airspace are in preparation for a long-range raid, a veteran Taiwanese aviation officer told Apple Daily. The purpose is to directly attack American military that comes to Taiwan’s aid, he said.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the officer analyzed the recent incursions of Chinese aircrafts into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. China flew 25 aircrafts, including bombers and fighter jets, over the Taiwan Strait within one single day last week, marking the biggest intrusion since Taiwan’s Defense Ministry made the data public in September last year.
The move came after the United States issued new guidelines, lifting restrictions on meetings between American officials and their Taiwanese counterparts.
In the past, the Chinese military conducted exercises near Fujian and Guangdong as they targeted the midline of the Taiwan Strait. As the area is crowded by other civilian aircrafts and due to the short airtime, the drills were moved towards the South, said the officer.
As the PLA frequently summoned fleets from other districts during major military drills, the Taiwanese army has increased the range of the missiles from 500 kilometers to 1,000 kilometers, he added.
The growing frequency of the military drills in the air as well as in the waters posed a threat to the peace and stability of Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region, he added.
The Taiwanese air force is on high alert, paying close attention to Chinese aircrafts while remaining constantly ready to deploy missiles to track their movements. “It means we are always ready to be in combat,” a veteran aviation general told Apple Daily.
A retired general revealed that officers, who take up positions as commanders, must be stationed at the Air Force Combat Command 365 days a year and 24 hours a day amid the growing cross-Strait tensions. Even during their time off, families could only meet them by visiting the military zone.
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