China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said it launched more military exercises around Taiwan on Sunday to counter the “collusion” between Taiwan and “external forces” as US and other Western support for Taipei continues to increase.
“The exercise focused on land strikes, sea assaults, and other subjects, aiming to test the troops’ joint combat capability and resolutely counter the collusive and provocative acts of the external forces and the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces,” the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement on Monday.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it detected 57 PLA warplanes in areas around Taiwan, including 28 that crossed the median line, an informal barrier that separates the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. China used to generally avoid crossing the median line, but that changed after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited Taiwan in August.
Chinese military activity in the area has a direct correlation with US and other Western support for Taiwan. PLA flights around Taiwan nearly doubled in 2022 compared with the previous year, with much of the activity following Pelosi’s visit.
Sunday’s drills came ahead of a visit to Taiwan by a high-level German parliamentary delegation, who arrived on Monday. A US trade delegation is also set to visit Taiwan later this week for talks that will be led by Terry McCartin, the assistant US trade representative for China affairs.
China launched major drills around Taiwan on December 25 in response to President Biden signing the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act into law, which includes unprecedented military aid for Taipei. Under the NDAA, the US will give Taiwan $2 billion in loans to purchase US military equipment each year. The State Department also recently approved a new $180 million arms sale for Taiwan.