China has deployed its most advanced J-20 stealth fighter jets along the Taiwan Strait, in the latest move to intimidate the island nation. It also reportedly flew these ‘Mighty Dragons’ near Ladakh during the border standoff with India last year.
The fifth-generation J-20 fighter jet is China’s first and only stealth aircraft. After its first flight test in 2011, the J-20 ‘Mighty Dragon’ made its debut in 2016 and joined the PLA Air Force in 2017.
According to the South China Morning Post, Beijing has deployed at least four aviation brigades comprising 150 J-20C jets (an advanced version of J-20) to units monitoring Taiwan Strait.
China is planning to deploy the advanced J-20s in every theater command to defend the territory from “five strategic directions” by the next five years.
The Chinese-Taiwan tensions date back to the civil war years when the nationalists fled the mainland to the island, creating a Republic of China (ROC) government in Taiwan.
Communist China does not recognize the ROC-led democratic Taiwan and considers the island a part of the mainland.
The Taiwan Strait has been the center of tensions since then. The last major crisis was witnessed in 1995-1996 when the Chinese military fired a set of missiles in the narrow water body to reiterate its ‘One-China’ policy.
Apart from a show of military strength, the repeated incursions into Taiwan’s airspace and deployment of J-20 are a means to signal the displeasure over increasing international support to the island nation.
The G7 communique while reprimanding China for its actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, also called for peace in Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.
China is visibly vexed at the growing congeniality between the US and Taiwan along with the US Navy patrolling the Taiwan Strait and nearby areas.
Last week, the US Navy’s 7th fleet Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Curtis Wilbur, conducted a routine transit through the strait after which China called the US “greatest creator of risks”.
Meanwhile, the US is scheduled to host a meeting on bolstering trade ties with Taiwan under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on June 30, as reported by Taiwan News. The US does not have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan though.
On June 26, another Y-8 ASW (a transport aircraft that can carry men and material) entered Taiwan’s airspace, making it the 10th incursion of the month, a fortnight after the largest incursion where 28 PLA aircraft violated Taiwan’s airspace.
28 PLA aircraft (Y-8 ASW, H-6*4, Y-8 EW, KJ-500 AEW&C*2, J-16*14 and J-11*6) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on June. 15, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/JnfN8bOwgl pic.twitter.com/MBJv2jbNMZ
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. ?? (@MoNDefense) June 15, 2021
For every incursion, Taiwan dispatches air patrol troops to respond and broadcast dismissal. It also deploys anti-aircraft missile radars to track and monitor Chinese aircraft, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence.
The Eurasian Times earlier reported how Taiwan has been scaling up its defenses and engaged in an arms import spree.
J-20 Jets Against India?
The twin-engine, multirole aircraft is the next-generation fighter jet equipped with precision strike capability.
According to state-run Global Times, the J-20, equipped with domestically developed WS-10 engines, replacing the earlier Russian ones, is now part of the PLAAF’s second ace force.
The ace force, known as the Military Development Vanguard Air Group, is CPC’s first combat air force that had participated in Korean War (1950-53).
The J-20 along with J-16 and J-10 was involved in the PLA Air Force event at centenary celebrations of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
— NDTV (@ndtv) August 31, 2020
Last year, several reports suggested China deploying J-20s at the Hotan airbase in Xinjiang province that lies about 200 miles from the disputed border with India.
The Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency recently confirmed the presence of J-20s at the Line of Actual (LAC) in September 2020.
“The PLA Air Force continues fielding modern fighters, including the deployment of J-20 stealth fighters in September to China’s border with India during their military standoff,” the DIA director said.
This development came after reports of India deploying Rafale jets against the Chinese PLAAF. The EurAsian Times reported that the Indian Air Force deployed its Su-30 MKI, MiG-29, and MiG-29K fighters in the border region and besides the newly acquired Rafale jets.