Angry China smashes cross-strait accord as warships erase median line

China on Thursday doubled its decision to fine Taiwan for picking up US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as warships and planes from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) crossed the median line dividing the straits. Beijing’s bellicose action has unilaterally ensured the collapse of the decades-long tacit military accord with Taipei.

The center line in the strait was established in 1955 as the de facto maritime boundary separating mainland China from Taiwan, with Washington pressuring both sides to honor an unspoken agreement not to cross it. Neither side broke the median line until China said last September that “there was no median line in the Taiwan Strait.”

The last two days have changed everything. Over 22 planes crossed the center line on Wednesday, followed by Chinese warships. Around 10 Chinese Navy ships crossed the center line and stayed in the area from Wednesday night to Thursday noon.

Although the PLA had already conducted numerous exercises around the straits, this time it is different. The drills are closer to combat and “rehearsals for reunification,” according to Chinese media.

“The tacit agreements [between the two militaries] have broken. This time, the PLA aims to push the boundaries in both weapon systems and actual tactics,” Song Zhongping, a former Chinese military instructor, told the South China Morning Post.

The PLA also took the unprecedented steps of firing missiles directly over the island and sending military drones over Taiwanese airspace. Aside from sending shockwaves across the islands, the PLA actions also aim to put Taiwan’s defense forces “on the back burner and significantly reduce their time to prepare,” the South China Morning Post added.

Lu Li-shih, a former instructor at Taiwan’s Naval Academy, said the rockets and missiles are part of a “cognitive warfare” strategy designed to incite fear and panic.

Although Taiwan’s armed forces could track these DF-15 missiles flying over its airspace, their high-altitude trajectory meant they could do little to stop them. “It’s a cognitive warfare strategy to create panic in Taiwan. You see the danger, but there’s nothing you can do to stop it,” Lu added.

Meanwhile, rockets fired from the Pingtan base were spotted by Chinese tourists strolling the island’s beaches. Squadrons of PLA helicopters were also seen swarming over the island. Angry China smashes cross-strait accord as warships erase median line

Fry Electronics Team

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