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China Demonstrates Aggressive Military Maneuvers Around Taiwan After NATO Allies Express Concerns Surrounding China’s “Coercive Behavior”

On July 7, NATO allies met for a summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where they welcomed Finland to the alliance and discussed the Russian-Ukrainian war. While the focus of the summit was undoubtedly centered on reinforcing allied support for Ukraine, another concerning issue was highlighted by NATO leaders: China.


When addressing allied concerns around China, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that China is not an adversary, “but Beijing’s increasing assertiveness affects our security. China is increasingly challenging the rules-based international order, refusing to condemn Russia's war against Ukraine, threatening Taiwan and carrying out a substantial military build-up." Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Defense noted China’s escalation of nuclear arsenals, stating, “China's nuclear modernization is unprecedented in speed and scale, and being carried out with no transparency.” Ultimately, a unified stance against China was underlined amongst the allies, with Stoltenberg definitively stating, "[NATO] Allies agreed to continue working together to protect against China's coercive behavior." 


Shortly after the summit, China demonstrated aggressive military maneuvers around Taiwan, persisting in a “three-day show of force” that took place around July 13-15. During this time, a record number of Chinese warships —16 in total— were spotted around the island, performing numerous intimidating military exercises. The number of ships reported around the island was “the most since the island’s Defense Ministry began providing daily updates of PLA activity around the island in August 2022,” as stated by CNN. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) also employed the use of numerous aircraft in their campaign of intimidation. According to CNN, “73 PLA aircraft either crossed the Taiwan Strait’s median line – an informal demarcation point that Beijing does not recognize but until recently largely respected – or entered the southeastern or southwestern parts of the island’s ADIZ (air defense identification zone).”


Last Saturday on July 21, reports by AP News indicated that China was continuing their intimidation campaign against Taiwan, flexing their aerial might ahead of Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang military exercise. The Han Kuang exercise is an annual military preparation drill where the Taiwanese Armed Forces test their combat readiness against an invasion by Chinese forces. A week ahead of this crucial military exercise, China had flown numerous military aircraft around the island, as reported by Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. AP News recorded that China had sent “37 aircraft and seven navy vessels around Taiwan between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday…Among them were J-10 and J-16 fighters and H-6 bombers, and 22 of the detected warplanes crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait.”


This Monday marked the beginning of the Han Kuang exercise as the Taiwanese military began initiating drills, focusing on running military simulations on the island’s main airport. The Financial Times suggests that Taiwan’s focus on airport drills is in response to China’s necessity of seizing airports and seaports to conduct a land invasion. However, some drills have been canceled due to the incoming Typhoon Doksuri, suggested to be one of the strongest typhoons to hit the island in recent years. It is uncertain if the rest of the Han Kuang exercise will be disrupted due to the typhoon, and Taiwan’s reliance on these exercises becomes increasingly pivotal as China ramps up their military aggression around the island.


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Tags: taiwan china biden nato han kuang beijing


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