Chinese and the US forces were locked in reconnaissance and electronic warfare tussle in the lead-up to and after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, according to military sources and defense analysts.
But not all of it was successful, according to sources close to the Chinese military.
State broadcaster CCTV reported the Chinese military used naval and air forces in multiple locations to conduct “full tracking and surveillance” against the US Air Force transport aircraft flying Pelosi and her delegation from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei on August 2.
The tracking was aimed at “deterrence”, the report quoted PLA Major General Meng Xiangqing, from the PLA National Defence University, as saying.
However, a source said the People’s Liberation Army’s tracking efforts – which involved jets and Type 055 destroyers – failed.
“The PLA deployed some electronic warfare aircraft such as the J-16D and warships to try to locate Pelosi’s aircraft, but were not successful,” the source said.
“Almost all the PLA electronic warfare equipment couldn’t work properly because they were all jammed by electronic interference by the American aircraft strike group sent by the Pentagon to escort her.”
China's military said it carried out more exercises near Taiwan on Monday as a group of U.S. lawmakers visited the Chinese-claimed island and met President Tsai Ing-wen, who said her government was committed to maintaining stability.
Reporting by Ryan Woo and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Robert Birsel, and Raissa Kasolowsky
China’s military has said it carried out more exercises near Taiwan as a group of US lawmakers visited the contested island and met President Tsai Ing-wen, as Beijing protested against infringement of its sovereignty.
“This is a solemn deterrent against the US and Taiwan for continuing to play political tricks and undermining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Shi Yi, spokesman for the Chinese military’s Eastern Theatre Command, said in a statement, promising to “resolutely defend national sovereignty”.
China is seething following another bipartisan US delegation visit to Taiwan, with Beijing renewing its “prepare for war” warning and launching fresh military drills around the island.
Beijing’s show of military might in waters and airspace around Taiwan came just one day after a congressional delegation led by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey arrived in Taipei on Sunday.
The two-day visit, aimed at reaffirming the US government’s support for Taiwan, came days after a similar trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The five-member group met with President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, according to Washington’s de facto embassy in Taipei.
“The delegation had an opportunity to exchange views with Taiwan counterparts on a wide range of issues of importance to both the United States and Taiwan,” it said.
China’s recent decision to fire missiles over Taiwan is a “gorilla in the room” that has to be contested, a top US military commander said Tuesday.
Beijing has carried out huge air and sea drills this month around Taiwan in a furious reaction to visits by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation.
Those exercises included firing multiple ballistic missiles into waters off Taiwan – some of the world’s busiest shipping routes – and it was the first time China has taken such a step since the mid-1990s.
“It’s very important that we contest this type of thing. I know that the gorilla in the room is launching missiles over Taiwan,” Seventh Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Karl Thomas told reporters in Singapore.
“If we just allow that to happen, and we don’t contest that, that’ll be the next norm,” he added.
“It’s irresponsible to launch missiles over Taiwan into international waters, where the shipping lanes, where free shipping operates.” The Seventh Fleet is based in Japan and is a core part of Washington’s navy presence in the Pacific.
The United States military on Tuesday said it carried out a test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile that had been delayed to avoid escalating tensions with Beijing during China’s show of force near Taiwan earlier this month.
China deployed scores of planes and fired live missiles in the Taiwan Strait after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a trip to the self-ruled island. China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced using force to bring it under its control.