PLA J-7 fighters fly over Taiwan for first time, sparking interpretations
Source: China Military Online
Editor: Huang Panyue
By Cheng Dong
BEIJING, June 18 -- The Taiwan air force published the PLA military aircraft dynamics on June 17, stating that one Y-8 stand-off jamming aircraft, two J-16 fighter jets, and four J-7 fighter jets entered the southwest airspace of Taiwan that morning.
As Taiwan's "Central News Agency" reported, this is also the first appearance of the J-7 fighters, according to the public records of the Taiwan's military, which has triggered many interpretations on the island.
Lin Ying-Yu, assistant professor at the Institute of Strategic and International Affairs of Taiwan's Chung Cheng University, mentioned that the PLA sending transport aircraft formations to the South China Sea and conducting flight operations around the Taiwan Strait in recent days are to practice its strategic requirements of integrating air and space capabilities as well as coordinating offensive and defensive operations. It is possible that the PLA uses the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) for positioning to test the mixed formation flights of new and old typed aircraft.
Chang Yen-ting, a retired Taiwan air force lieutenant general, said that judging from the formation on June 17, the PLA is conducting comprehensive training. Dispatching the third-generation fighters shows that the PLA is not afraid of the fourth-generation fighter jets of Taiwan, and has confidence in electronic warfare. The PLA will fight back with electronic warfare if Taiwan uses missiles.
He also mentioned that the PLA sent various types of aircraft to take turns in flights, rather than sending J-16 and other newer fighter jets. Such a combination sends signals to Taiwan on multiple layers and in multiple directions.
Statistics from Taiwan's defense authority showed that there have been 28 PLA military planes flying over Taiwan on June 15, setting a record since it began to publish the statistics. The second most day was April 12, with 25 aircraft.
An article published on United Daily News on June 17 analyzed that in the foreseeable future, the activities of PLA aircraft and warships on the east and west sides of Taiwan will gradually get closer to the island, and the training of troops in the surrounding airspace will become normalcy. PLA will increase the deployment of various aircraft for drills and get familiar with the battlefield environment. At the same time, it will affect and test the reaction of Taiwan substantially. "This kind of low-cost but high-efficiency military action will often continue to be staged around the Taiwan Strait before the deadlock between the two sides of the strait is resolved, as long as our side cannot effectively stop it."
In response to the continuous flying-over actions of the PLA aircraft, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, responded on June 16 that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities did not stop collaborating with external forces to provoke the Chinese mainland, challenge cross-strait relations, and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait during the pandemic. It is absolutely necessary for the mainland to curb the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces, which is consistent with its sincere willingness to help Taiwan compatriots to control the pandemic, all for safeguarding the common interests of compatriots on both sides of the strait.
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