Island encirclement and military deterrence has become a normalcy: expert
Published: Apr 17, 2023 02:57 AM
A Type 052C guided missile destroyer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy sails near the island of Taiwan during the combat alert patrols and “Joint Sword” exercises that encircle the island on April 8, 2023. Photo: Screenshot from China Central Television

A Type 052C guided missile destroyer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy sails near the island of Taiwan during the combat alert patrols and “Joint Sword” exercises that encircle the island on April 8, 2023. Photo: Screenshot from China Central Television

China on Sunday morning successfully launched its first satellite dedicated to measuring precipitation, especially heavy rainfalls during catastrophic weather in global regions of low- and mid-latitude, which could provide a powerful tool for monitoring and forecasting of global meteorological disasters.

However, the "defense authority" in the Taiwan island claimed the same day that the satellite passed across the open sea in northern Taiwan, stressing that it did not affect the security in the island. Some military experts in the island also claimed the move is intended to interfere with the airspace and sea around Taiwan. 

It is the latest move of the authorities and experts in the Taiwan island trying to stir up controversies since the combat exercises of the People's Liberation Army around the Taiwan island since April 8. 

Experts in the mainland said that this indicated the series of PLA's recent military actions had made “Taiwan independence” secessionists feel the pressure of challenging the red line of the mainland. They noted that it would be a normalcy for the PLA to encircle the Taiwan island and deter the secessionist forces.    
Since the PLA concluded the combat alert patrols and “Joint Sword” exercises on April 10, the social media accounts of the PLA Eastern Command continued to report that the army, the navy, the rocket and the air forces of the command kept on conducting combat exercises from April 11 to April 14, highlighting the military is "always prepared and ready for combat." Some military experts told the Global Times the PLA Eastern Theater Command will continue releasing information of its forces' actions. On one hand, this is  aimed  to enhance the impact of the drills; on the other hand, it’s to demonstrate it has become a normalcy for them to encircle and militarily deter the secession forces in the island.     
Some media in the island reported on Friday that the PLA’s flights had approched the airspace around the Taiwan island for 293 times from April 8 to 12. Media in the island also said that some military fans detected a US P-8A aircraft rarely conducting low-altitude flight operating in the open sea of the Green Island in the east of the Taiwan island, leading to some military experts groundlessly concluding that there must be PLA submarine operating near the area.          
In response, the "defense authority" in the island told media that the PLA kept "disrupting" the Taiwan island even after the encircling drills; meanwhile, some media in the island actively invited so-called sources and experts to "refute rumors." For example, citing some security officials in the island, the Central News Agency in the island accused the PLA of releasing misinformation like the Taiwan island was encircled. The pro-Democratic Progressive Party media Liberty Times Net also claimed that the PLA's exercises "did not show apparent increase in terms of the level of real combat."        
Citing previously leaked documents, The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the military of the island of Taiwan is “unlikely to thwart Chinese mainland military air superiority in a cross-strait conflict,” highlighting a series of shortcomings in the Taiwan military’s equipment and training. In response, the defense authority on the island of Taiwan stated that it “respects outside opinions about its military preparedness,” which military experts said that the “Taiwan military” is being slapped in the face by its master, yet still has to smile.

"This fully shows that the PLA's military exercise encircling the island and normalized deterrence have hit the sore spots of 'Taiwan independence' secessionists, making them overwhelmed and feeling the pressure to challenge the mainland's red line. Since last year's countermeasures against the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the so-called median line no longer exists. Judging from this year, the island encirclement has gradually become a normalcy," the abovementioned military expert said.  
As to the combat alert patrols and  “Joint Sword” exercises, Zhao Xiaozhuo,  a research fellow at China's Academy of Military Sciences,  pointed out that there are many "new" in the drills, for example, the situation of the task force entering the 24 nautical miles of Taiwan Island is tighter, the tactics are better as the aircraft carrier participated in the exercise for the first time, forming a pincer attack inside and outside the first and second island chains, and the system of deep integration of joint operations command and support is stronger, etc., reflecting the PLA's continuous deepening of war preparations.

The military expert mentioned earlier pointed out that in both military exercises and normal military operations after the exercises, what can be seen in the tactics of thePLA is close-in military suppression operations against the island of Taiwan, but what cannot be seen is the preparation to stop the “Taiwan independence” secessionists from becoming normalized. This includes the visible capabilities of joint perception, joint control, joint action, and joint security under the support of the joint warfare system, as well as the invisible capabilities of soldier status, weapons and equipment, and operational efficiency. It can be described as “joint system forces both tangible and intangible,” and “promoting reunification and opposing Taiwan independence” has become a reality, which is truly something that the “Taiwan independence" secessionists should feel heartbroken and hopeless about.

Additionally, this military expert also stated that the series of actions taken by the island of Taiwan and the US in recent years has also provided the PLA with opportunities to approach the island and use troops on a larger scale. Through military exercises, they are familiarizing themselves with the battlefield environment and testing tactics and strategies, and the scope and intensity of these exercises are becoming increasingly larger and deeper. Every time they conduct a military exercise, they find and solve a batch of problems in command, coordination, and support, so that their actual combat capability and combat readiness move forward step by step. 

“It is not difficult to see that the PLA’s strategy toward Taiwan is becoming more flexible, full of wisdom to turn danger into opportunity. The more frequent the connection between the US and the island of Taiwan, the more frequent the military exercises of the PLA, and the more rapid the improvement of their combat effectiveness. It won’t be long before the PLA solves all the problems, and the time to ‘solve the final problem’ is not far away.”

Zhu Fenglian, the spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, stated that the PLA recently carried out a series of countermeasures in the Taiwan Straits and nearby sea and air areas, which were aimed at "Taiwan independence" separatist activities and interference from external forces, not at Taiwan people.

The new poster and short video about China won’t give up ‘even one inch’ of territory released by the Eastern Theater Command on the April 12, evoke the national identity of the Taiwan people through common memories such as building the Whampoa Military Academy together, marching north together during the revolution, and defending against foreign enemies together. 

It calls on people on the island to work together and create a better future, expressing the idea of fists against “Taiwan independence” secessionists and kindness to the people. This poster and video, like the posters released during Tomb-Sweeping Day, all expressed the responsibility and emotions of the PLA, who are always prepared and always guarding the country. This is in line with the firm position of the PLA to not fight the people, but fight Taiwan independence secessionist, not fight reunification.