Large number of PLA ships and military aircraft purportedly cross median line of Taiwan Strait inferring simulated attack


6th August 2022 – (Taipei) The People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic of China (PLA) continues to conduct military exercise around Taiwan and the Eastern Theatre Command carried out live-fire drills as planned to conduct joint training in actual combat in the sea and airspaces in the north, southwest, and eastern Taiwan Island.

On the third day of the PLA’s live-fire drills around Taiwan, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence detected a large number of PLA ships and military aircraft operating around the Taiwan Strait on Saturday (6th), some of which crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, inferring simulated attack on the island of Taiwan. The Taiwan military broadcast warning immediately and responded with air patrol fighters, naval ships and land-based missiles.

PLA fighter jet.

On Saturday (6th), the PLA released photos of naval ships approaching Taiwan’s coastline on Friday. The coastline of Taiwan is clearly visible, and the Taiwanese military’s ROCN Lan Yang  was also photographed tracking and monitoring closely.

The Taiwanese military’s ROCN Lan Yang  was also photographed tracking and monitoring closely.

However, the PLA has not released information on ships approaching Taiwan’s coastline. Local media referred to the Type 052D Chinese destroyer Nanjing, which was approaching from the coast of Hualien. Earlier on Friday, it was reported on social media that Taiwanese military’s ROCN Lan Yang followed an unidentified ship off the southwest coast of Kaohsiung Port that morning. The vessel was inferred to be the PLA Type 052C Chinese destroyer Changchun. It is worth noting that the two ships were quite close to each other, less than 1,000 metres.

Chinese destroyers Changchun and Nanjing sailed off the east coast of Taiwan a few days ago, and Changchun then sailed south to southwest waters. According to a person familiar with the Taiwan military, the Changchun crossed the east of the median line of the Taiwan Strait in the southwest of Taiwan, and the Taiwanese Cheng Kung-class frigate immediately responded to drive away. In the past, no PLA ships have ever crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. Therefore, if the Taiwanese military detects and monitors the ships on the other side, they usually conduct surveillance from about 4 nautical miles away. The photo on Friday shows that the distance between the two ships is less than 1,000 meters, because the Chinese vessel has already crossed the median line. The situation was quite rare and tense.

Taiwanese ROCN Lan Yang and Cheng Kung-class frigate moving closely.

Meanwhile, it was reported by Taiwan News that a record 68 Chinese military aircraft, plus 13 naval vessels, on Friday entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), with many also crossing Taiwan’s median line. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced at 5pm that 68 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) military aircraft and 13 People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships encroached on Taiwan’s ADIZ. In addition, many of these aircraft and vessels crossed the median line and “seriously deteriorated the current situation in the Taiwan Strait,” read the MND statement.