The People Liberation Army, China’s state military, has shifted to high-gear mode post US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. According to a report by Global Times, China’s state-affiliated media house, J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-17 hypersonic missiles are being used in military drills around the island of Taiwan. 

Reportedly, this is the first time in history that PLA fighter aircraft will be flying over Taiwan, thus breaching the median line that lies within the Taiwan Strait. Consul General of China in Belfast, Zhang Meifang, said that from now on, “”median line” ceases to exist”:

On Wednesday, the PLA increased the intensity of their joint blockade, as well as that of the land, sea, and air attack drills. Weapons that have been, or are set to be used in the drills include the J-11 fighter jet, Type 052D destroyer, H-6K bomber, DF-11 short-range ballistic missile, Type 056A corvette,  and the J-20 stealth fighter jet, Global Times reported.

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The PLA has now practically surrounded Taiwan from all sides with their military drills. Maritime as well as air drills are being conducted close to northern, southeastern as well as southwestern Taiwan while long-range shooting exercises are being carried out in the Taiwan Strait. Meanwhile, in the east, the PLA is conducting test launches of missiles.

China’s mainland military expert Zhang Xuefeng, told Global Times, “If the conventional missiles of the PLA were to be launched from the mainland toward the west of Taiwan and hit targets to its east, this means that the missiles would fly over the island, which is unprecedented”.

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Experts note that such a drastic move on the PLA’s part acknowledges their will to take non-peaceful measures if push comes to shove regarding the United States’ involvement in the China-Taiwan dispute. China continues to claim that such measures are being taken since Pelosi’s visit is being seen as a threat to its territorial sovereignty.