War drums: Chinese vessels seen moving toward the Pacific Ocean following U.S. drills in the area

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a Chinese aircraft carrier and several other naval warships have been spotted in the western Pacific Ocean. According to Taiwan officials, roughly 22 Chinese military aircraft have been seen in the area in the last twenty-four hours.

Tensions between China and Taiwan are heating up after the United States and Canada conducted joint exercises through the Taiwan Strait in what some refer to as a show of force against Chinese territorial claims in the area.

Now, in what seems to be a response to the military drills, China has reportedly sent an aircraft carrier, the Shandong, along with other vessels roughly 70 miles to the southeast of Taiwan’s coast.

Chinese state media has reported that the military aircraft and vessels are performing exercises in the area to conduct drills that are geared toward simulated land, sea, and air attacks.

Taiwan’s defense ministry reported as of September 12th, thirteen of the Chinese aircraft had crossed over the median line of the Taiwan Strait which is known as a demarcation zone between China and Taiwan.

Taiwanese Assistant Deputy Chief with the General Staff for Intelligence of Taiwan’s Ministry, Major General Huang Wen-Chi, reported the sighting at a recent news conference.

The general said, "The period from July to September this year was the peak period for the Chinese Communist Party’s exercises. There are a lot of warship activities in the waters surrounding the Taiwan Strait. There was also a large number of warships operating in different areas in the South China Sea and East China Sea.”

Other reports show Major General Wen-Chi continued by alluding that China may well be gearing up for some type of military invasion.

He said, “This year, the Chinese Communist Party has aggressively expanded its armaments and continued to build various types of fighter jets and drones. The information we have received is that all-important military bases along the coast…are being continuously updated.”

Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, also weighed in on the communist military being so close to his nation. He said, “With this level of threat against Taiwan, heightened acts in the South China Sea and joint military exercises with Russia in August, it’s hard to believe PRC really wants peace amid its economic slump. Beijing should spend resources on its people, not threatening others.”

Newsweek spoke to Sean King, an Asia scholar and senior vice president at Park Strategies in New York who said he cannot understand why, exactly, China is mounting these military drills now.

“I can’t get inside the heads of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) top brass as to why these particular drills are happening at this particular time," King said. "But these actions are consistent with Beijing’s long-stated objective to put itself in a position to take Taiwan by force if it can’t woo the island by less kinetic, yet still coercive, means.

“We should, in fact, expect to see only more such threatening mainland moves in the run-up to Taiwan’s January 13th presidential and legislative elections. However, such mainland attempts to intimidate Taiwan people have in the past often backfired, instead leading voters to rally around those candidates most critical of Beijing.”
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