An intense day of Chinese-US military maneuvers around Taiwan

US and Chinese military activity around Taiwan intensified April 7, with a US aircraft carrier group exercising in the South China Sea, a Chinese aircraft carrier group operating in waters east of Taiwan, a US destroyer transiting the Taiwan Strait, and Taiwan fighters scrambled against 15 Chinese aircraft entering Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, accompanied by a type 055 destroyer, two type 052 destroyers, a type 054 frigate, and a supply ship sailed though the Miyako Strait between Japan and Taiwan, entering the Pacific Ocean April 4. On the same day, the USS Theodore Roosevelt strike group sailed into the South China Sea via the Strait of Malacca. Both aircraft carrier groups were exercising in their respective areas today, April 7.

Chinese Carrier Group East of Taiwan

Official statements from the the Chinese government, and reports in Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times emphasized that the Chinese aircraft carrier group’s exercise was “near Taiwan” and aimed at “boosting combat capability against Taiwan secessionists,” and was a response to “US warships, including an aircraft carrier making provocations near China.”

Furthermore, a PLA Navy spokesperson, Senior Captain Gao Xiucheng said in a statement Monday, April 5: “Similar exercises will be conducted on a regular basis in the future,” Global Times reported.

PLA Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning with escorts.

“With the Type 055 accompanying the Liaoning carrier, the task group’s offensive and defensive capabilities have received an all-round enhancement, thanks to the Type 055’s more powerful radar systems, battlefield information management systems and stronger firepower compared to the Type 052D, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military affairs expert,” told the Global Times.

US Carrier Group in the South China Sea

Also today, April 7, the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group carried out fixed and rotary-wing flight operations, maritime strike exercises, anti-submarine operations, and coordinated tactical training, according to a US 7th Fleet press release.

“I could not be more proud of the hard work and professionalism that this crew has shown every day during this deployment,” said Capt. Eric Anduze, USS Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer. “Our Sailors’ tenacity and warfighting prowess is unmatched and is a testament to our Navy’s resolve to maintain free and prosperous seas.”

The USS Theodore Roosevelt conducts operations in the South China Sea, April 7, 2021.

US Destroyer Transits Taiwan Strait

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 7, through international waters in accordance with international law, the US Navy said in a press release.

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open  Indo-Pacific,” the press release said.

The USS John S. McCain transits the Taiwan Strait, April 7, 2021. Picture: US Navy.

PLA Warplanes, including 12 Fighters enter Taiwan ADIZ

A total of 15 Chinese military planes entered the southwest area of Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone April 7, causing Taiwan to scramble its own fighters in response, and engage anti-aircraft missile tracking systems.

The sorties included eight J-10, and four J-16 fighters, one Y-8 anti-submarine, and two KJ-500 airborne early warning and control planes, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND).

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