PLA's island encirclement patrols around Taiwan not news anymore

China Military Online
Zhang Tao

Rights never abandoned

That reporter of the Independent Newspaper of Russia said that China’s ocean-going training around the first island chain is similar to the US’s "freedom to fly over the high seas".

After all, the warplanes have a strong strategic intent to show that the PLAAF has enough power to cover the important strategic nodes of the first island chain in the Asia-Pacific and that the Chinese people will not give up the right to do so, that reporter said.

Another Russian reporter thinks that as the US "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018" expresses a purpose of lifting the military relations between the US and Taiwan, the "troublesome island" will once again becomes a sensitive point in China-US relations.

"If we ignore the fundamental importance of Taiwan to China’s security policy, and ignore Beijing's current general sense of urgency toward trends in Taiwan, it would lead to a big mistake," he added.

"Cruising around the island will be a powerful method for the PLA to express its capabilities to defend China’s sovereignty. This is something that needs to be seen by the opponents and make sure that they believe in such deterrence," he said.

Michael Chase, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, found that the island patrols arise from the PLAAF’s strategic requirement of building air-space capabilities and conducting offensive and defensive operations.

Further, the PLAAF is building strategic deterrence and a long-range strike capability. Being able to complete island patrols is just a start for H-6K as "China has more ambitious plans for its bombers," said Chase.

In the autumn of 2016, the former Chinese Air Force commander General Ma Xiaotian hinted that China is developing this ability when he said that the Chinese Air Force is developing a new generation of long-range bombers.

Subsequent Chinese commentary hinted that one bomber was named the H-20 and was equipped with conventional and nuclear deterrent forces and long-range strike capabilities.

Chase believes that island encirclement patrols are really an issue of the past because for the Chinese PLA the entire first island chain is nothing but "pebbles in the stream."


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