4th August 2022 – (Taipei) U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan triggered a series of military intimidation from the Mainland. From 12pm on Thursday (4th) to 12pm next Sunday (7th), the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) designated 6 zones in the sea and airspace around Taiwan, and carried out large-scale military exercises. Local media pointed out that the Mainland increased to 7 zones at 9am on Thursday, adding another military exercise area in the eastern sea, and the training time has been extended to 10am next Monday (8th).
Meanwhile, the Dassault Mirage 2000, F5E and F5F fighter jets blasted off from the Chihhang Air Base on Thursday. The Taiwanese military emphasised that it was a routine training drill and had nothing to do with the PLA’s military exercises.
Chinese state media reported that an important military exercise of the PLA started at noon on Thursday, with live ammunition being organised. Six zones around the island were selected for the actual combat training. During this period, relevant ships and aircraft are not allowed to enter the relevant waters and airspace. According to the report, the army units of the PLA Eastern Theatre Command conducted long-range live ammunition training in the Taiwan Strait at around 1pm on Thursday, and carried out precise strikes on specific areas in the eastern Taiwan Strait, achieving the expected results.
It is reported that the air control centre of the Taiwan Air Force Combat Command has issued a “Notice to Air Missions” (NOTAM) about the PLA military exercise, including a new no-fly zone, but the details are unknown. According to the latest Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) data, there are no civil aircraft flying over the PLA exercise area. On Wednesday (3rd), the Eastern Theatre Command of the PLA organised the navy, air force, rocket force, strategic support force, and joint logistics support force to conduct practical joint exercises in the sea and airspaces of northern, southwestern, and southeastern Taiwan around the clock, focusing on joint containment and control, sea assault, land strike, air combat and other drills to test the joint combat capabilities of the forces.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) accused China of trying to set up a blockade around Taiwan with the live-fire drills it is running in six zones around Taiwan this week.
At 10.59pm on 2nd August, Chinese state-run Global Times released an announcement from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) saying it would hold “important military exercises and training activities including live-fire drills” in six areas around Taiwan from 4th to 7th August moments after Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan.
The zones to the north, northeast, and southwest of the country appear particularly close to territorial waters. As can be seen from a map created by Vietnamese journalist Duan Dong, the northern zone comes within 12 nautical miles of the north coast of Taiwan, the northeast sector comes within 10 nautical miles of northeast Taiwan, and the southern area is a mere 9 nautical miles from southern Taiwan, far closer than the live-fire drills seen during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis from 1995-1996.