China is brandishing a wide array of military equipment and weapons as it conducts drills around Taiwan intended to intimidate the self-ruled island.
The three-day show of force, which began on Saturday, comes after a visit by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the United States sparked China’s ire.
Here is a rundown of Beijing’s arsenal:
China has deployed dozens of planes in the airspace around Taiwan over the three days, including J-16 and J-10C fighter jets.
The state-of-the-art J-16s, built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, are capable of carrying both close- and long-range missiles, according to the state-run Global Times.
The ongoing operations around Taiwan have also involved KJ-500 early warning and surveillance aircraft, which provide 360-degree radar coverage, according to defence intelligence company Janes.
State media have also reported the deployment of Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, which has previously been used in patrols over the East China Sea.
People’s Liberation Army land forces have also been roped into what China terms the “Joint Sword” drills, using YJ-12B land-based anti-ship missiles in simulated strikes against Taiwan.
Little information about the YJ-12B is publicly available. It is a land-based version of the YJ-12 missile, which has a range of 460 kilometres and able to carry both nuclear and conventional warheads, according to the US-based Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.
The DF-11 and DF-15 short-range conventional ballistic missiles have also featured in this week’s drills.
Both are decades-old models, with the newer DF-15 capable of “striking Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, and northern India from mainland China,” according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Official broadcaster CCTV said on Sunday that China’s forces “simulated joint precision strikes” on Taiwan.
China sent destroyers and frigates in Taiwan’s direction over the weekend, with the Taiwanese defence ministry on Sunday saying it had detected nine Chinese warships around the island.
These have included the type 052C destroyer and the Type 054A frigate.
The 054A is designed for anti-air combat and equipped with HQ-16 medium-range surface-air missiles capable of striking aerial targets 50 kilometres away, according to defence industry publication Naval Technology.
And hours before Tsai’s meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles last Wednesday, China sent its Shandong aircraft carrier through Taiwan’s southeastern waters on its way to the western Pacific.
The Shandong is one of two Chinese aircraft carriers, and the only one to be fully domestically built. It was commissioned into the PLA Navy in December 2019.
Although not officially part of “Joint Sword”, Chinese state media said the Shandong’s voyage last week showed “the carrier is fully ready for far sea operations and safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
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