Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fighter jets reportedly approached the 24-nautical mile line of the island of Taiwan on Sunday, a move that experts say is entirely legitimate and will become more frequent if the “Taiwan independence” secessionist forces continue to provoke.
In a press release Sunday morning, Taiwan’s island defense authority said it had detected 21 PLA planes and five ships around the island in the past 24 hours, including eight J-10 fighters that had crossed the so-called median line of the Taiwan Strait.
The median line is a non-existent concept that divides the two sides of the Taiwan Strait down the middle, and mainland China never recognizes the median line.
According to the flight paths illustrated in the press release, the eight J-10 fighters flew over the “median line” from four points covering the northern and southern ends and the center of the Taiwan Strait before returning to China.
Going beyond the so-called median line, the fighter jets approached the island’s 24 nautical mile line, the island’s defense authority said shortly after the planes’ activities, local media reported. The island stated that it marked the first time that PLA planes had come close to the 24-nautical mile line of the island of Taiwan.
The 24 nautical mile line is often used to describe the contiguous zone, which can extend up to 24 nautical miles from the baseline, while the territorial sea can extend up to 12 nautical miles from the baseline, a military expert said from mainland China to the Global Times, requesting anonymity.
Taiwan’s island defense authority might want to use the contiguous zone concept to silence PLA “threats,” but Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, so it’s legitimate for the PLA to operate anywhere on the island and its surroundings, said the expert.
Fu Qianshao, an expert on military aviation from mainland China, told the Global Times that the routine sorties of PLA warplanes serve as stark warnings to secessionist “Taiwan independence” forces and external interference forces.
The PLA has demonstrated its ability to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, Fu said.
In recent years, the People’s Liberation Army has been conducting daily patrols and exercises with planes and ships around the island of Taiwan.
Suppose the “Taiwan independence” forces do not give up their secessionist moves. In that case, the PLA’s activities will move closer to the island and become more frequent and combat-oriented, according to analysts.