The Chinese continued to act more aggressively in the Pacific, the latest bellicose move by Beijing was a series of military exercises in the Western Pacific in what Chinese officials described as “island encirclement patrols” over Taiwan by their air forces.

These latest drills came just a week after a spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army said that the Chinese Air Force had recently staged drills over the Yellow and East seas near the Korean peninsula, using “routes and areas it has never flown before”. The latest moves are messages to Taiwan and to the US and South Korea that they intend on increasing their influence, far beyond their borders.

Monday’s drills involved aircraft flying over the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines, and the Miyako Strait near the Japanese island of Okinawa. Other patrols encircled Taiwan, air force spokesperson Shen Jinke said, according to a statement posted on the air force’s website.

“Exercises near Taiwan are [primarily] a warning to the DPP, which always plays down Beijing’s military might, and a reminder to the Taiwanese public,” Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said.

“In the East China Sea, however, where China’s air defence identification zone overlaps with Japan’s, drills are more complicated and challenging, because Tokyo scrambles its fighters to [effectively] join the training, which helps the Chinese pilots to improve their combat skills,” he said.

Taiwan’s Defence Minister Feng Shih-kuan said on Tuesday that the island had dispatched aircraft and ships to monitor the PLA’s exercises, but said they were not unusual and that the public should not be alarmed.

Chinese actions continue to show their aggressive and confident nature in pushing their influence in the region. With the situation in North Korea bubbling, the Chinese are not limiting their attention there. And are preparing for any scenario.

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