Strait Tensions Soar: Taiwan Test Fires Missiles, Beijing Sends Warplane

Eight months after we penned a piece titled "Taiwan Warns Of Possible Invasion If China's Economy Continues To Deteriorate" -- a virus pandemic has crippled the global economy and Taiwan on Thursday (June 11) conducted missile tests off several of its coasts as tensions between China and the US are rising in the Taiwan Strait. 

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) is reporting that Taiwan has test-fired missiles off its eastern and southern coasts as the self-ruled island increases its defense capabilities against mainland China. 

The tests were held near Taiwan's eastern county of Taitung and the Jiupeng military base in the southern part of the island on Thursday night. 

Taiwan has test-fired missiles off its east and southern coasts as part of its missile program. h/t SCMP

Local media said the surface-to-air missiles were part of an interceptor system that would shield the island from a guided-missile attack by China. 

In response to the missile tests, China People's Liberation Army (PLA) flew a warplane on Friday across the median line in the strait. 

Taiwan's defense ministry immediately responded by scrambling fighter jets: 

"We detected the Chinese Communist Yun-8 aircraft flying southwest into Taiwan this morning and immediately dispatched our fighter jets to shadow it and disperse through radio warning," the ministry said.

More confrontation is ahead in the strait, as Taiwan plans to hold annual war drills in July and September.

The Han Kuang drills "will test the country's asymmetric capabilities to ward off hostile forces at sea and along its beaches," the Ministry of National Defense recently said. 

Beijing considers Taiwan a Chinese province -- Taipei has grown even closer to Washington, which has infuriated Chinese officials. 

From trade war to origins of COVID-19, relations between Washington and Beijing have nosedived, suggesting a new "cold war" and decoupling is underway. As for hotspots in disputed waters this year, the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea appear to be likely areas.