The PLA step up air space incursion adding pressure on Taiwan’s newly elected President

Chinese-aircraft-in-Taiwan-space

Important Takeaways:

  • China Sends Most Warplanes Ever Across Key Line With Taiwan
  • Some 56 aircraft crossed the so-called median line as of early Thursday, the Ministry of National Defense in Taipei said on the X social media site. Taiwanese aircraft, naval vessels and missile systems were used “in response” to the flights by the People’s Liberation Army, the military added, without providing details on what that entailed.
  • The latest warplane flights add to the pressure campaign China has rolled out since the election victory in January of Lai, who Beijing accuses of pursuing independence. That drive has included holding major military drills just after he took office in May, peeling off one of Taiwan’s few remaining diplomatic allies and expanding a law targeting what it sees as “separatists.”
  • The PLA has stepped up incursions across the demarcation in recent years, effectively shrinking the buffer zone between the two sides and slashing the amount of time that Taiwan’s smaller military has to react to any attack from China.
  • China has vowed to bring the archipelago of 23 million people under its control someday, by force if necessary.
  • President Joe Biden has repeatedly said the US would come to Taiwan’s aid in the event of a Chinese invasion. The US has also stepped up military aid to the archipelago that produces the bulk of the world’s advanced semiconductors in recent years in the hopes of deterring any attack.

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Drills: China practices targeting grounded F-35 and F-22 jets

massive-scorch-marks

Important Takeaways:

  • China rehearses assault on US stealth fighter bases: Beijing military stages attacks on F-35 and F-22 jets as it looks to deter American intervention in Taiwan
  • China is bombing models of American fighter jets as part of a rehearsal of a military assault, new satellite photos have revealed.
  • The images, taken by Planet Labs over a remote desert area in northwest China, show massive scorch marks next to low-tech models of F-35s and F-22s, some of the most advanced jets used by the US Army.
  • The photos also show a long runway with several scotch marks at the top end.
  • It is not currently known exactly what weapons were used to leave the marks, but the Times reported that the scale of them would suggest precision missiles were used.
  • The desert, the Taklamakan in Xinjiang province, already hosts military testing sites. Three years ago, it was revealed that China had built up models of an American Ford-class aircraft carrier and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
  • It comes as a Chinese military drone hovered near an airport on a remote Taiwan island causing delays to flights, Taipei’s military and local media said on Wednesday.
  • In addition to military pressure from Chinese warplanes and vessels that maintain a near-daily presence around the island, Taiwan has faced incursions from civilian and unidentified drones that surveil and harass troops.

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Washington has spread itself increasingly thin: Xi’s deadline of 2027 Taiwan invasion is likely to fall in a period of geopolitical chaos elsewhere

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Important Takeaways:

  • China is almost ready for its war with the West
  • Admiral Paparo, Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, recently declared his intention to turn the Taiwan Strait “into an unmanned hellscape” in order to buy time in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. The idea was to use “classified capabilities” – likely including surface vessel and long endurance UAVs – to make the lives of Chinese soldiers “utterly miserable for a month”.
  • In the meantime, the concern is that while the US is developing combat capabilities in the region, China is building ships at a rapid clip. Paparo has previously noted that while the US is “not overmatched”, he does not “like the pace of the trajectory”.
  • With Europe distracted by Russia’s war in Ukraine and American assets diverted by the turmoil in the Middle East, the Chinese Communist Party has perhaps its best ever chance for a successful war of conquest. Xi’s deadline of 2027 for the People’s Liberation Army to be ready to invade Taiwan is likely to fall in a period of geopolitical chaos elsewhere.
  • Washington knows that it has spread itself increasingly thin, and that this cannot be sustained indefinitely. If it is divided between propping up European countries unprepared to financially commit to the security of their own continent and the Indo-Pacific when China’s preparations for war flip over to the real thing, then it is at serious risk of losing a great power war for the first time.

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China rehearses a Taiwan invasion says US official

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Important Takeaways:

  • A top US official has described China’s recent military exercises around Taiwan as “a rehearsal” for an invasion.
  • US Indo-Pacific Commander Samuel Paparo said his command monitored China’s drills last Thursday and Friday.
  • “We watched it. We took note. We learned from it,” he told Nikkei, adding that it “looked like a rehearsal.”
  • China said its two-day exercises were punishment for separatist forces seeking independence. Beijing claims the island is part of China’s national territory.
  • The drills came days after President Lai Ching-te was inaugurated. He called on Beijing to stop threatening the island and pledged to “neither yield nor provoke” the mainland Communist Party leadership.
  • Admiral Paparo warned China continues to “build capability at an alarming rate.”
  • The US does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is bound by its own laws to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

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China sends warplanes, ships near Taiwan to show anger over island’s new leaders

Taiwan-coast-guard

Important Takeaways:

  • China has issued elaborate media statements showing Taiwan being surrounded by forces from its military, the People’s Liberation Army. A new video on Friday showed animated Chinese forces approaching from all sides and Taiwan being enclosed within a circular target area while simulated missiles hit key population and military targets.
  • Despite that, there was little sign of concern among Taiwan’s 23 million people, who have lived under threat of Chinese invasion since the two sides split during a civil war in 1949.
  • The defense ministry said it tracked 49 Chinese warplanes and 19 navy vessels, as well as coast guard vessels, and that 35 of the planes flew across the median line in the Taiwan Strait, the de facto boundary between the two sides, over a 24-hour period from Thursday to Friday.
  • The Pentagon said the United States was “monitoring very closely” the joint Chinese drills. It said Beijing’s actions “are reckless, risk escalation, and erode longstanding norms that have maintained regional peace and stability for decades.”
  • Washington is legally bound to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself and considers all threats to the island a matter of “grave concern.”

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National Security Analyst says ‘China is dead set on retaking Taiwan’ possibly before the end of 2024

Xi-Jinping

Important Takeaways:

  • China attack on Taiwan ‘imminent’ as island warned invasion coming ‘before end of 2024’
  • China won’t listen to the US’ demands and will stop at nothing to take Taiwan back by force, a defense expert has told Daily Express US.
  • …according to Brandon Weichert, a National Security Analyst from The National Interest, who says China is dead set on its goal of retaking Taiwan.
  • He said: “China will not listen [to the US], especially because I remain convinced that Beijing is readying to strike Taiwan soon–possibly as early as this fall.
  • “They don’t care what the Americans say anymore.”
  • According to Mr. Weichert, China refuses to listen as it is obsessed with controlling the region.
  • He said: “China under Xi Jinping is deeply committed to reshaping the world system away from the maritime democracies of the US-led Western order and toward the continental autocracies of the China-led Eurasian order.”
  • But Beijing Xi appeared to take a friendly tone as he sat down with Blinken amid the surging tensions.
  • The Chinese President reportedly called for mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation, describing these as the “three major principles” for US-China relations.
  • He reportedly said: “[The two countries] should make achievements for each other, not do harm to each other.”
  • But Beijing has not responded well to US’ stance on Taiwan, calling the issue “the first insurmountable red line” in relations between the two powers.

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Death toll from Taiwan earthquake increased to 12

Taiwan-Earthquake-Avalanche

Important Takeaways:

  • Two more bodies were found in the mountains of Taiwan’s eastern Hualien County, two days after a 7.4-magnitude quake off the nearby coast that was the island’s biggest tremor in 25 years.
  • The quake damaged roads and sent rocks tumbling down mountains, stranding hundreds of people in Taroko National Park
  • Rescue efforts have been complicated by the risk of further landslides and rockfalls, as well as intermittent rain
  • Aftershocks can also still be felt every few minutes, numbering in the hundreds since Wednesday.
  • As of Friday afternoon, there were 1,123 people injured, 634 trapped and 13 missing, according to the Central Disaster Response Center.

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Taiwan’s earthquake preparedness saved a lot of lives as well as the global tech economy

2024-Taiwan-Earthquake

Important Takeaways:

  • From Taiwan to South Korea to Silicon Valley, some of the most important nodes in the global tech economy are in disaster-prone places
  • Considering that Wednesday’s quake was the strongest in Taiwan in 25 years — and that earthquakes of similar strength have killed tens of thousands of people or more in other countries — this could have been much worse.
  • There was one other way in which Taiwan — and the world — avoided a worse outcome from the earthquake: the island’s all-important semiconductor manufacturing industry seemed to emerge largely intact.
  • To say that Taiwan is important to the global tech industry is like saying oxygen is important to breathing. Taiwan as a whole is responsible for making 80 to 90 percent of the world’s most advanced computer chips — ones for which there is no current substitute.
  • While earthquakes and volcanoes are just one threat to Taiwan’s semiconductor foundries, the better-known one is the People’s Republic of China.
  • Should Taiwan’s chip foundries be destroyed in such a conflict, the damage to the global economy could be on par with the Great Depression.

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7.4 Earthquake followed by 6.0 aftershock rattle Taiwan: Search and rescue underway

Taiwan-Earthquake-Building-collapse

Important Takeaways:

  • Taiwan earthquake videos show terrified commuters rocked on trains and stopped on shaking bridge during 7.4 tremor, as water from rooftop pool cascades over edge of skyscraper and rescuers rush to free victims
  • Terrifying footage from a damaging 7.4-magnitude earthquake in Taiwan shows commuters being rocked on trains and shaken on bridges amid the tremor that has killed at least four.
  • So far, 118 people have also been hospitalized in the massive quake, which struck shortly before 9am local time on Wednesday (8pm New York, 1am UK, 11am Sydney).
  • The four so-far known to have been killed were hit by boulders in Xiangyu, Hualien County. They included a truck driver who died in front of the Daqinshui Tunnel and three hikers on the Dekaron Trail who were all crushed to death, UDN reports.
  • Rescuers expect the total number of injured and killed to rise as the hunt for people trapped by the quake continues.
  • Across the country more than 87,000 were left without power, according to Taiwan’s electricity supplier. At least 40 flights were canceled, while trainlines, schools and places of work closed.
  • Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration agency said the quake could be felt across the whole island nation – measuring 7.4 at the epicenter. Several aftershocks registering more than magnitude-6.0 followed the initial quake.
  • The tremor is the strongest earthquake to hit Taiwan in 25 years, after a deadly 7.4-magnitude quake in 1999 killed around 2,400 people.

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Interesting to remember China has been busy replicating Taiwan’s Presidential building, Highways, Airfields, and The Eiffel Tower

China-replicates-sites-for-training-center

Important Takeaways:

  • China’s Largest Base Has Replicas Of Taiwan’s Presidential Building, Eiffel Tower
  • Through satellite images, we explore China’s premier large-scale training site that has some ominous and bizarre features.
  • China has made massive investments in modernizing its military over the better part of the past three decades and has established new and improved research and development and training bases to support those efforts. The People’s Liberation Army has fully embraced the idea of utilizing highly realistic facilities to prepare its forces for the sorts of environments they’d be likely to fight in during future conflicts, drawing significant lessons from the experiences of the U.S. military and those of its allies.
  • The Zhurihe Training Base in remote Inner Mongolia is the largest of these sites and notably features a huge full-size mockup a portion of downtown Taipei, the capital of the island of Taiwan, including highly elaborate recreations of its Presidential Office Building and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There’s also a cloverleaf highway interchange, a mock airfield and, bizarrely, a replica of France’s Eiffel Tower.
  • Interestingly, this isn’t the only Eiffel Tower replica in China, either. There is another one in Tianducheng, China, a suburb of Hangzhou in the country’s Zhejiang Province, which has an overall aesthetic meant to evoke the architecture in the French capital Paris. There is another recreation of the Eiffel Tower at the Window of the World theme park in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, situated on the mainland just outside Hong Kong.

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