China on Thursday noon launched a series of live-fire military drills in six maritime areas around Taiwan. The drills included the launching of Dongfeng missiles to areas in the northeast and southwest of Taiwan. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense says it was ready for any emergencies, readying aircraft in many areas of Taiwan, including the rarely-used Hengchun Airport in Pingtung.
A missile rips through the skies, releasing a loud roar. China’s People’s Liberation Army is conducting live-fire drills near Taiwan’s coasts. This is China’s Pingtan County, the closest Chinese municipality from Taiwan proper at just 140 kilometers from Hsinchu. Here, the PLA has seemingly launched rockets from PHL-16 long-range multiple rocket launchers to disrupt Taiwan’s patrolling vessels and aircraft along the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
China on Thursday noon kicked off a series of live-fire military drills in six maritime regions near Taiwan. One is located in the median line of the Taiwan Strait near China’s Pingtan. The others are off the coasts of Taiwan’s Keelung, Yilan and Hualien, and in the Bashi Channel near Pingtung and Kaohsiung. The drills are scheduled to end on Sunday. Reports say a seventh drill area could be added in the east, and that the exercises may be extended by another 20 hours to 10 a.m. on Aug. 8.
Voice of Meng Xiangqing
In the past, Taiwan has repeatedly emphasized the so-called median line dividing the Taiwan Strait. We’ve said there has never been this so-called median line. If you connect the six sites with a single line, then Taiwan would harp on about its 12 nautical miles of territorial waters. What 12 nautical miles does Taiwan have?
Actually the PLA’s real goal is the fourth area. For all the other areas, they can fire missiles directly. Whether cruise missiles or ballistic missiles, or even rockets, they can all reach the other areas. But for the fourth area, the missile would have to fly over the Central Mountain Range.
And fire missiles China did. The Ministry of National Defense confirmed that the PLA had fired several Dongfeng missiles toward areas off the northeast and southwest of Taiwan.
The military is deploying all kinds of counter-surveillance measures to stay updated on missile and rocket launches. We’re activating the relevant defense systems and strengthening combat readiness. The Ministry of National Defense condemns such irrational actions that undermine regional peace.
Taiwan’s military says it is ready. Already, even before 9 a.m., Mirage 2000 fighters loaded with ammunition took to the skies in Hsinchu.
Over in Hualien, F-16V fighter jets were also fully armed for an emergency takeoff and the Taiwan-made Teng Yun unmanned aerial vehicles have also been readied for action. In Taoyuan’s Longtan, Apache attack helicopters were dispatched, fully loaded. Even Hengchun Airport, which had been rarely in use in recent years, is now a launch pad for unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters.
Already, two unmanned aerial vehicles and 10 Apache attack helicopters have taken off from the area. There’re also Cobra choppers, military helicopters and Black Hawks on standby for any emergency operation,
Former Air Force lieutenant general
More threatening than ballistic missiles are rockets, because rockets are very cheap, and they can attack large areas. Ballistic missiles destroy single sites.
The military drills this time isn’t really aimed at blockading Taiwan, because they aren’t capable of blockading Taiwan. They’re mainly trying to intimidate the people and conduct cognitive warfare. That’s the real objective. Perhaps they’ve overlooked how, over the last few years, Taiwan has built up high levels of psychological resilience.
The first day of live-fire drills was over in just a few hours. At 3:19 p.m. the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command announced on social media that its precision missiles strikes had been a “success” and that restrictions in the drill areas were lifted. Reports say that, before the drills started, the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet’s Boeing P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft was spotted patrolling off Taiwan’s southwest. Meanwhile the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier conducted routine operation in the Philippine Sea to support maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific, keeping a watchful eye on China’s provocations.