China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has greatly increased its presence in the Taiwan Strait, part of the greater South China Sea, in response to the growing number of freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) by the U.S. Navy, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.
The Post confirmed the news with the Taiwanese Defense Ministry, which operates independently of Beijing. While Taiwan is a sovereign nation with a fully functional federal government, the Chinese Communist Party regards it as a rogue province whose government requires submission to Beijing. A Taiwanese source told the Hong Kong-based newspaper that China’s military has increased “irregular” operations in the Taiwan straight and mirrored American activity in the region.
“Each time the U.S. sent warships through the Taiwan Strait, the PLA has also dispatched its fleets to track the U.S.’ movements,” the source reportedly said.