What We Know:
China has launched large naval exercises this week in an attempt to push back against the United States’ earlier security exercises with the Philippines, Japan, and Australia. Late last week American and Canadian warships sailed through the Taiwan straight.
Among many warships, China deployed an aircraft carrier with an armada of destroyers, frigates, and supply ships. There were also jets, bombers, and supply aircraft, some of which were close to violating Taiwanese airspace according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.
Sightings of China’s aircraft carriers are very rare as they only have 2 domestically built carriers in service. It is also increasingly worrisome for the Taiwanese government. The dual use of air and naval operations are generally practice for sustaining air operations over specific areas of land or water.
China’s fleet exercises have gotten increasingly larger, showcasing newer weapons, bigger ships, and more personnel involved. The exercise was likely a show of force to show the U.S. that it would face many operational obstacles if they were to come to the aid of Taiwan.
This aggressive type of exercise has left many Pacific countries seriously concerned about their security in the future. It has led to an increase in security agreements between the U.S. and other regional powers.
The increase in the strength of the Chinese navy has worried many of the countries such as the Philippine’s who have allowed the U.S. basing rights which gives them a serious advantage in securing the region against Chinese incursion.
Earlier in the year, it was predicted that China would use its economic strength to win over many of the countries in the South Pacific through trade agreements, weapons deals, and resource exchanges. With China’s faltering economy, they have increasingly become far more aggressive to countries in the region, pushing them away.
There will be more instances of this in the future. Even with the Biden administration’s recent attempts to deepen ties with the Chinese economy, there will likely be no easing in tensions. With the recent failures in stopping Chinese stagnation, they have become increasingly aggressive and have fielded more ships and firepower to show America and its allies that they are serious.
With the incursions getting closer and closer to Taiwan, it has caused much discomfort for the island and its allies as American ships have to be prepared in case it is no longer just an exercise. Japan and South Korea have been crucial to providing American intelligence with real-time updates on fleet positions, aircraft maneuvers, and other Chinese military exercises.
It is likely that they will continue to field larger fleets and increase their aircraft usage in the region to show their willingness to fight, as well as deter any potential American presence in the area.