China's President Xi Jinping has just wrapped up a multi-day meeting with his top generals across major branches focused on military readiness. One key concern he articulated to the Central Military Commission was the recruitment of top talent toward the creation of a highly professional and skilled PLA military. No doubt military readiness related to Taiwan and the PLA Eastern Theater Command was discussed as well.
Simultaneous with the meeting in Beijing which started late last week, China kept up the pressure on Taiwan, sending wave after wave of military flights into Taiwan's defense identification zone (ADIZ). As usual, they flew near the southern part of the island with on Sunday 27 PLA aircraft at once breaching the zone - including nuclear capable long range bombers and a refueling plane - resulting in Taiwan scrambling its own jets and monitoring the flights via air defense systems.
"Taiwan's Defense Ministry said it deployed combat aircraft to 'warn' the Chinese jets to leave, as well as missile systems to monitor the planes," Axios wrote of a response action now so frequent as to seem commonplace.
The past few days have been busy in airspace off Taiwan's southern coast, in what's been a steady uptick of such threatening flights. "Over the past year, the frequency of Chinese incursions has increased, with about 150 aircraft over a period of four days," The Associated Press tallied by the close of Sunday.
This could mark a new record set over a four-day time period, given the first week of October say 145 PLA aircraft within the same window, a prior record. The actions had corresponded with China's 72nd annual National Day.
Again, while such ADIZ incursions are now almost commonplace, Axios' Zachary Basu has recently pointed out that the risk of severe miscalculation or 'unintended incident' only grows with every new large-scale formation that the PLA sends toward the island...
Few experts see a Chinese invasion of Taiwan as imminent. But the chances of a devastating miscalculation grow each time a Chinese fighter jet enters Taiwan's ADIZ, says Timothy Heath, senior international defense researcher at the RAND Corporation.
Meanwhile a much smaller PLA formation was sent Monday, in what's become a daily occurrence...
5 PLA aircraft (Y-8 ASW, J-16*2 and J-10*2) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on November 29, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/8fIy4AHeka pic.twitter.com/dCWTzdQf0R— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) November 29, 2021
Recall that a key focus of the Nov. 15 Biden-Xi summit was about Taiwan and an expressed desire for "guardrails" that might prevent the rival superpowers from stumbling into conflict. Xi had reportedly been firm in presenting Biden with demands surrounding the Taiwan issue, while Biden had reiterated the US is sticking by the 'One China' status quo and doesn't wish to enter confrontation.
But as for any actual agreements or specifics, these were lacking from the summit: "The president was very clear in reaffirming very long-standing US policy and raising very clear concerns, but the idea of establishing specific guardrails with respect to Taiwan was not part of the conversation tonight," a senor White House official had said at the conclusion of the summit.