There are 47 aircraft crossing Taiwan Strait and military drills taking place near Japan
Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone: The “Strike Drill” During the 2008-2009 Pelosi High-Energy Warfare
Since then, Beijing has stepped up aggressive military pressure tactics on the island, sending fighter jets across the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the body of water separating Taiwan and China and into the island’s air defense identification zone – a buffer of airspace commonly referred to as an ADIZ.
The flights, part of a so-called “strike drill” according to China’s military, follow Naval exercises by a Chinese aircraft carrier group in the Western Pacific close to Japan on Friday.
The Taiwanese defense ministry responded in a statement Sunday night that it has confidence in defending its sovereignty. “The actions of the Chinese Communist Party highlighted its mentality of using force to resolve differences, which undermines regional peace and stability,” it said.
This year has seen an increase in tensions surrounding Taiwan. There was fury from the Communist Party when Nancy Pelosi visited the island in August.
On Friday, US President Joe Biden signed a sweeping new defense bill into law that included the establishment of a defense modernization program for Taiwan to deter Chinese aggression.
The cooperation between Taiwan and the US is expected to help safeguard a free, open and stable region. The military will continue to strengthen military preparedness based on enemy threats and self-defense needs,” it added.
A Chinese fighter jet flew just 20 feet in front of a US Air Force RC-135 spy plane over international waters in December, but the US Navy still described it as an ‘infrequent’ intercept. This was just five weeks after the meeting between President Biden and President Xi in Bali during a G20 Summit — a meeting in which they pledged new mechanisms to stabilize the bilateral relationship.
Climate cooperation talks, which were halted in China because of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, are expected to resume as part of a larger set of agreements between Biden andXi.
The intercept of a Chinese J-11 fighter jet by the US navy on December 28: Warnings for the US-China conflict in the South China Sea
Last Friday, China also conducted a series of military drills close to Japan’s southern Okinawa island in the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese authorities.
The Chinese navy aircraft carrier and two destroyers sailed east of Kitadaito Island off the coast of Japan on December 21. The vessels also sailed roughly 120 kilometers (74 miles) east of Okinotorishima, located further southeast, on December 22.
The Japan’s defense ministry said that on Friday around 180 carrier-based fighter jets and helicopter took off and landed on the Liaoning.
The ministry of defense and self- defense forces sent two escort ships to collect information and carry out warnings.
Beijing has militarized a number of islands and inlets in the South China Sea, which are part of China’s territorial waters.
Japan announced its biggest military increase since World War II and doubled defense spending in the face of growing threats from Russia, China and North Korea.
Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Meanwhile in China newsletter, a three-times-a-week update exploring what you need to know about the country’s rise and how it impacts the world. Sign up here.
The intercept of the US Air Force jet by the Chinese military last month should be seen as a warning that things could quickly go wrong and cause a confrontation between the two powers, analysts say.
Performing what the US military deemed an “unsafe maneuver,” a Chinese navy J-11 fighter jet flew within 20 feet of the nose of a US RC-135 Rivet Joint, an unarmed reconnaissance plane with about 30 people on board, forcing the US plane to take “evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision,” according to a statement from the US Indo-Pacific Command issued on December 28.
The small difference between the US and China’s planes in the videos leaves little room for error and the incident was managed by the US pilots.
“The 135 was in international airspace and is a large, slow, non-maneuverable aircraft. Peter Layton, a former Royal Australian Air Force officer and now a researcher with the Griffith Asia Institute, said it’s the responsibility of the smaller, fast, maneuverable aircraft to stay clear of each other.
There was no gain for the fighter flying so close except to create an incident, because their crew just happened to have a high quality video camera that they were using. The incident seems very well planned by the PLAN, if rather risky,” he said.
The Chinese response is so far away from reality that it is not real. The airliner-sized aircraft does not turn into an armed fighter.
But Hopkins also said the US military risked blowing the incident out of proportion in saying the US jet had to take “evasive maneuvers,” a term he described as “overly dramatic.”
“These are no different than a driver adjusting her position to avoid a temporary lane incursion by an adjacent driver,” Hopkins said. The US’s response is pure theater with a false sense of danger.
“Flying aircraft close to each other at 500 miles per hour with unfriendly intentions is generally unsafe,” said Blake Herzinger, a nonresident fellow and Indo-Pacific defense policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute.
The 2000-2011 South China Sea Missing Aircraft Inspiral by a U.S. Aircraft Collision: Why the United States Cannot Answer Beijing’s Questions
ThePLA has effectively wrecked any kind of hotlines or discussion forums that were used to address incidents with the United States. If an intercept does go wrong, there are fewer options than ever for senior officers to limit potential escalation,” he said.
“The US’s provocative and dangerous moves are the root cause of maritime security issues. The Foreign Ministry encourages the US to stop dangerous provocations and not blame China.
The Chinese Southern Theater Command said the US reconnaissance jet was flying “in the vicinity of China’s southern coastline and the Xisha Islands” – known in the West as the Paracels – where Beijing has built up military installations.
The US does not recognize the territorial claims of those countries in the South China Sea and routinely conducts operations there.
The 2001 crash of a Chinese fighter jet with a US plane in the South China Sea led to a crisis as the Chinese pilot was killed and the damaged US plane barely made it to Chinese territory. The US crew was released after 11 days of intense negotiations.
With these incidents over international waters in mind, it is not hard to imagine the Chinese military would have shot down an unmanned US balloon or other aircraft flying over mainland China without hesitation, regardless of any risk to Chinese citizens or property. Beijing’s extensive global media apparatus would promote claims that the incursion exemplified US double standards regarding violations of sovereignty, with this narrative also seeded widely across Chinese social media channels. Any planned visits to the US by China’s foreign policy chief, like Secretary of State Blinken’s now-postponed trip to Beijing, would have been outright canceled.
Editor’s Note: Beth Sanner is a former deputy director of National Intelligence for Mission Integration, a position where she oversaw the elements that coordinate and lead collection, analysis, and program oversight throughout the Intelligence Community. She was the president’s intelligence briefer in this role. She is a professor-of-practice at the Applied Research Lab for Intelligence and Security at the University of Maryland and a CNN national security analyst. Her own opinions are expressed in this commentary. View more opinion on CNN.
Washington believes that the balloon shot down over the Atlantic on Saturday is part of an extensive Chinese program but that it is unclear if China’s most powerful leader knew about the mission.
The Biden Administration’s effort to set “guardrails” on its relationship with China is not working very well. The reason for this is that China has failed to stop its espionage, stealing, and exploiting of the US democratic and open- market system, but is becoming more aggressive. The administration’s actions to hold China accountable have been threatening the interests of core Chinese interests.
If China downed the US craft, they would have blamed the US and made them responsible for any damage. The China’s Ambassador to the US was quickly withdrawn from front of the US Embassy.
My first reaction to the Chinese balloon when it was identified floating over Montana was probably the same as yours: “Shoot it down, already!” In my decades as an intelligence official, I focused on facts, not anger, and provided a measured, clear-headed assessment. Over the last week, a senior intelligence official would have joined the US military in setting the discussion in meetings in the White House Situation Room. So I’m inclined to buy the risk-benefit calculus that drove the decision to wait to shoot the balloon down until it was flying over shallow US waters where the risk posed by a large debris field was minimal.
As the Brookings Institution’s China expert, Ryan Hass, recently put it during an interview on the German Marshall Fund’s “China Global” podcast,”‘establishing guardrails’ is neither strategy nor policy… and is lacking in ambition.” The Biden administration can work with Congress to articulate and implement a clear strategic framework to advance our broader global interests, including boosting current efforts to explain the Chinese threat to a skeptical global South. Another Chinese balloon traversing Costa Rica and Colombia in recent days provides a strong optic.
The Flight of a High-Altitude Object Over Alaska on Friday, Oct. 27, 2006: U.S. President Joe Biden and the Air National Guard
President Joe Biden told CNN that the shoot down a “high-altitude object” hovering over Alaska on Friday “was a success,” shortly after American national security officials disclosed that the commander-in-chief gave the US military approval to take the action.
The object brought down over Alaska was much smaller than a Chinese balloon that fell over the weekend. The payload of the Chinese balloon downed last Saturday was described by US officials as approximately the size of three buses, whereas the object taken down on Friday has been described as a small car. The US has not attributed the second flying object to any country or entity.
The object was detected by NORAD and two F-22 fighter jets were sent up to monitor it with the help of the Alaska Air National Guard.
American defense officials have said these recent objects did not pose a “kinetic military threat,” but could pose a safety hazard to civilian aviation due to the altitude they were flying at.
There were two efforts to get closer to the object and evaluate it as it flew. Fighter aircraft engaged with one another late Thursday night and the second Friday morning. Both engagements yielded “limited” information, Kirby told reporters.
Kirby said that before the order was to shoot it down, they had fighter aircrafts surrounding it, and the pilots did not think it was manned.
The White House said that President Biden authorized the use of fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD to conduct the operation, and a US F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory. The leaders talked about how important it was to recover the object in order to find out more about its purpose.
US Northern Command’s Alaska Command coordinated the operation with assistance from the Alaska Air National Guard, Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ryder said.
The FBI Observed the Xi Jinping Jumping over the Deadhorse, Alaska, Balloon Device and Its Importance to Chinese Intelligence
There is a best description for this object right now. We don’t know who owns it, whether it’s state-owned or corporate-owned.
The US government first took notice of the object last night. Kirby said Biden was first briefed by the Pentagon after they had enough information.
The object “did not appear to be self-maneuvering, and therefore, (was) at the mercy of prevailing winds,” making it “much less predictable,” said Kirby.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction Friday in the area around Deadhorse, Alaska, as the military took action against the object.
Biden officials expressed the belief that both the senior leadership of the People’s Liberation Army and Chinese Communist Party, including Xi, were also unaware of the balloon mission over the US, and that China is still trying to figure out how this happened, a source familiar with the Thursday briefing to Congress told CNN.
While the president has stood by how he and his administration handled that balloon, he has faced criticism from Republicans for allowing the suspected spy balloon to float over much of the country before shooting it down.
If the balloon that traveled over the US is part of what Washington describes as a coordinated and military-affiliated surveillance program, one possibility, according to analysts, is that Xi may have been aware of the program, but not its day-to-day operations.
CNN says that an assessment was given to American lawmakers Thursday that could point to a lack of coordination within the Chinese system during a fraught period of US-China relations.
An alternative in this situation would be that the balloon was being sent over the United States to send a message to the US ahead of the visit of the Secretary of State to Beijing.
Beijing maintains the device was a research device. In contrast to the US, where the balloon set off serious public concerns, the subject became a subject of amusement on Chinese social media, with nationalists poking fun at the US.
Beijing, in a statement last weekend, appeared to link the device to “companies,” rather than the government or military – though in China the prominence of state-owned enterprises and a robust military-industrial complex blurs the line between the two.
“The problem with the centralization of power under Xi Jinping is the lack of delegation of authority to lower levels,” said Thompson, who is a senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
It means that the officials who may have the capacity to more closely monitor such missions might not be able to make political decisions about their impact. Power struggles between lower and higher ranking officials could also complicate communication, he said.
A feature of Chinese governance is that lower levels fight for themselves and upper levels fight for control, he said.
Past crises in China have pointed to these tensions, including the outbreaks of both SARS in 2002-2003 and more recently Covid-19, where reporting delays were widely seen as having slowed the response and compounded the problem. Local officials were blamed for being used to a system where information flows from the top down, not the bottom up.
A political scientist at the University of Chicago said that ballooning operations would fall into a gap in which the operations were not managed likespace or other aircraft missions.
In this case, entities launching balloons could have received little or no push back from other countries, including the United States, and could have been seen as routine because of weather conditions and modest costs.
He said the leaders of these programs probably didn’t get top priority attention from the perspective of political risk because they have become more emboldened over time.
The unidentified object shot down in Canadian airspace during a meeting between US President Joe Biden and the great general Relativity
“Because of his personality, he wants 100% (control),” said Alfred Wu, an associate professor, also at the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. I don’t think the president allows for that kind of independence.
Instead, Xi may have been comfortable with an incident that diverted the attention of a public frustrated amid a faltering economy after years under the recently dismantled zero-Covid policy – but underestimated the US domestic response that resulted in the postponed talks, Wu said.
Washington could be saying that it wanted to continue the dialogue started at the G20 summit during the meeting between Xi and US President Joe Biden, which they did not know about.
The Pentagon’s statement said that the object shot down in Canadian airspace had been tracked since Friday evening. The great Gen. Patrick had a name.
There’s no indication at this point that the unidentified objects have any connection to China’s surveillance balloon but it seems that national security officials across the continent remain on edge. After a radar anomaly forced a jet to investigate before an all clear was given, airspace over Montana was briefly closed.
The object appears to be a “cylindrical object” smaller than the Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down previously, Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said at a news conference on Saturday.
The monitoring continued today as the object went into Canadian airspace and the Canadian F-18 and Canadian P-140 aircraft joined the formation to assess the object.
The White House stated that President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau both approved the shoot down on Saturday.
An Unidentified Airborne Object Beaming Low-Energy: Why China’s First Object Debris Shoot Down has not Arrived
Ryder’s statement said that while Canadian authorities conduct recovery operations, the FBI will be “working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”
Pilots gave different accounts of what they observed after coming near the object, a source briefed on the intelligence told CNN; some pilots said it “interfered with their sensors,” but other pilots said they didn’t experience that.
China said Sunday it was preparing to shoot down an unidentified object flying near its eastern coast, just hours before US fighter jets took out a third object in three days in the airspace above the United States and Canada.
In a text message to fishing vessels, maritime authorities in the neighboring port city of Qingdao told crews to be on alert to avoid danger and assist with debris recovery efforts if possible.
Please take photos if debris falls near your boat. The Jimo district marine development department said that if conditions allow, please help make it better.
Chinese authorities and state media have not provided any update as of Monday afternoon, and it’s not clear if the object has already been taken down.
The US Commerce department has forbidden Chinese companies from obtaining US technology without government approval.
By Monday morning, the unidentified object had become the top trending topic on Weibo, with two related hashtags racking up more than 900 million views. Many wondered – some with a sense of disappointment – why authorities had not released any update on the shoot down.