By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation
China said it successfully completed three days of military drills around Taiwan on Monday, including simulated strikes on the island with fighter jets launched from an aircraft carrier for the first time, CNN reported.
Beijing launched military drills resembling a blockade and invasion of Taiwan on Saturday after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen arrived home after a North American tour that involved a “transit” through California to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, according to CNN. The People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Shandong aircraft carrier, which lurked in the waters around Taiwan while Tsai traveled, participated in the drills and apparently launched fighters to simulate an attack on Taiwan for the first time.
Taiwan’s air defense is on perpetual high alert, the ministry of defense said in a statement as China neared the end of the drills.
“We can and we will defend our skies. And we will never give up our beliefs,” the statement said.
In the 24 hours prior, Beijing’s military sent about 35 aircraft into Taiwan’s self-identified air defense zone or across the unofficial median line in the Taiwan Strait dividing the self-ruling island from the Chiense mainland, Taiwan’s defense ministry said in a statement.
The sorties included four J-15 fighter jets, made specifically for launching from aircraft carriers, that violated the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), the first time that has happened, according to CNN.
The PLA Navy also operated 11 vessels around Taiwan by 6 a.m. local time on Monday, the defense ministry said.
Beijing’s army completed at least 80 takeoffs and landings of fixed-wing aircraft from the Shandong, Japan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed in a statement, according to CNN. Japan readied its fighter jets to respond if necessary.
The final day of drills on Monday emphasized mock “maritime blockades” and “targeted ambush assaults on enemy mooring vessels,” Chinese state media CCTV reported, according to CNN. Exercises over the previous two days focused on “simulated joint precision strikes on key targets on Taiwan Island.”
The PLA affirmed readiness for future combat after completing the drills, named Joint Sword, The Associated Press reported. Beijing previously said the exercises were intended as a warning to Taiwan against seeking to formally break away from China.
“The theater’s troops are ready to fight at all times and can fight at any time to resolutely smash any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ and foreign interference attempts,” China’s military said Monday, according to the AP.
The exercises resembled those that took place in August after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Tsai, intending to demonstrate support and solidarity for a threatened democratic partner, in Taipei. However, the recent spate of drills did not reach the same intensity as those from Pelosi’s visit, according to the AP.