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December 29, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 9112

Chinese 'Duowei News': Beijing's Sending Both Its Aircraft Carriers Through The Taiwan Strait Is 'A Clear Declaration Of Its Intention To Unify The Island' With The Mainland And 'A Warning To The U.S.'

December 29, 2020
China | Special Dispatch No. 9112

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense has confirmed that on December 20, 2020 the Shandong, the first aircraft carrier built domestically on the Chinese mainland, had set out, with its formation, for the South China Sea, sailing south via the Taiwan Strait that day. The Chinese Duowei News outlet reported that the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaonin had been in the Taiwan Straits at the same time. "The presence of both Chinese aircraft carriers in the Taiwan Strait at the same time has strong political implications," Duowei News stressed, adding that by sending its two aircraft carriers through the Taiwan Strait simultaneously, Beijing is issuing "a clear declaration of its intention to unify the island" with the mainland and is sending a clear "warning to the U.S."

It is worth noting that when it was founded in New York in 1999 by Pin Ho, Duowei, which is a news opinion website, recruited several dissidents to write for it; it was considered a "dissident outlet". In 2009, due to poor management, Duowei was sold to the CCP-backed businessman Yu Pun-hoi, and its headquarters were moved to Beijing. Since then, it has become one of the semi-official news outlets that the Chinese government uses to test public opinion in the Chinese-speaking diaspora. Duowei News cannot be accessed from within China.

Below is the report, as published by Duowei News:[1]


Aircraft carrier Liaoning and its formation (Source: Dwnews.com)


Shandong, the first domestically built aircraft carrier on the Chinese mainland (Source: Dwnews.com)

'The Presence Of Both Chinese Aircraft Carriers In The Taiwan Strait At The Same Time Has Strong Political Implications'

"Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense confirmed on the evening of December 20th that the Shandong, the first domestically built aircraft carrier on the Chinese mainland, and its formation headed for the South China Sea from north to south through the Taiwan Strait on the same day. The Shandong was not the only Chinese aircraft carrier to appear in the Taiwan Straits on that day. Some sources said that Liaoning, another Chinese aircraft carrier, also appeared in the Taiwan Straits at the same time. The presence of both Chinese aircraft carriers in the Taiwan Strait at the same time has strong political implications.

"China's aircraft carrier Shandong (CV-17) and its four escort vessels set sail from Dalian port in Liaoning Province on December 17 and continued to sail southward after passing through the Taiwan Strait on December 20, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said in a press release late Wednesday [December 23]. Taiwan's Defense Ministry said that during the period, in addition to the use of its joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system to master and monitor the whole process, the National Army also dispatched six naval ships of various types and eight Air Force aircraft of various types to take on alert and monitoring tasks, and appropriately dealt with the situation in accordance with regulations.

"As for the other Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and its formation, it is said that the aircraft carrier group sailed into the northern waters of Taiwan on the evening of December 19th. The media asked whether the aircraft carrier formation would enter the western Pacific Ocean through Miyako Strait in Japan, and then cross the eastern part of Taiwan to carry out the navigation training of 'two aircraft carriers circling Taiwan' with the Shandong aircraft carrier group. A general at Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense responded with 'no comment.'

'It Would Be The First Time That China's Two Existing Aircraft Carriers Have Appeared In The Taiwan Strait At The Same Time'

"The Liaoning was officially delivered to the Chinese navy in Dalian on September 25, 2012. In November 2016, the PLA announced that the Liaoning aircraft carrier battle group had become operational and would begin combat missions. On the night of January 4, 2018, the Liaoning passed through the Taiwan Strait for the first time on its way to the South China Sea. The Liaoning, along with four warships and a supply ship, passed through the Miyako Strait in April this year, then crossed the sea off the east of Taiwan, and then continued to move south through the waters off the south of Taiwan for long-haul training in the open sea. Relevant data show that the Liaoning has passed the waters outside Taiwan more than 10 times since it entered service eight years ago.

"The carrier Shandong was officially delivered to the Chinese navy on December 17, 2019, and returned north through the Taiwan Strait on December 26 last year. Now, after a year in service, the carrier recently completed training in combination with other warships in the East China Sea and immediately launched the annual long-distance voyage training in the open sea, passing south through the Taiwan Strait.

"If confirmed, it would be the first time that China's two existing aircraft carriers have appeared in the Taiwan Strait at the same time. Observers say Beijing's move has at least two implications.

Beijing Wants To Demonstrate To The U.S. That The Chinese Military Is Capable And Determined To Defend The Taiwan Strait

"First, the U.S. has recently been flexing its military muscles in the Taiwan Strait. On December 19 this year, the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet command issued a statement on its official website, saying that the USS Mustin (DDG-89) passed through the Taiwan Strait that day. The U.S. military said the operation was intended to 'demonstrate the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.' That was the 12th time that a U.S. warship has sailed through the Taiwan Strait this year. The previous U.S. military visit was on November 21. The simultaneous presence of both Chinese aircraft carriers in the Taiwan Strait is clearly intended as a warning to the U.S. - at least to demonstrate to the U.S. that the Chinese military is capable and determined to defend the Taiwan Strait.

Beijing Has Never Given Up The Option Of Reunifying The Island By Force

"On the other hand, the above actions further declare the will to unify Taiwan. News of the simultaneous presence of the two Chinese aircraft carriers in the Taiwan Strait coincided with the announcement that a PLA aircraft entered the Southwest Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) at 11 am on December 20. According to statistics, the PLA entered Taiwan airspace on a total of 18 days in December this year.

"For Beijing, peaceful reunification is the best option when it comes to Taiwan issue, but Beijing has never given up the option of reunifying the island by force. For a long time in the past, especially when cross-Strait relations eased, Beijing spoke more about peace and hoped that 'peaceful development across the Strait' would eventually lead to peaceful reunification. But now, Beijing is no longer pinning its hopes entirely on peaceful reunification. Beijing's constant display of military presence in the Taiwan Strait, particularly the simultaneous presence of the two aircraft carriers, is a clear declaration of its intention to unify the island.

Chinese Communist Party’s De-Emphasis On 'Peace' Toward Taiwan

"Duowei News once pointed out in the article 'Cross-Strait Observation: When the Option of Reunification of Taiwan by Force Enters the Official Vision of the Communist Party of China'[2] that the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CCP [Chinese Communist Party] Central Committee held at the end of October 2020 had made subtle changes in the expression of the Taiwan issue: the word 'peace' was not seen in promoting reunification, and Beijing no longer placed too much hope on 'peace' in promoting national reunification. There are good reasons to believe that Beijing already has a timetable and a plan for reunifying Taiwan, and the use of force to reunify Taiwan is certainly one of them.

"As a matter of fact, militarily, Beijing has already made preparations and arrangements for the reunification of Taiwan. The presence of two Chinese aircraft carriers in the Taiwan Strait at the same time is certainly not without aim. If relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait do not ease, the likelihood of similar situations in the future will become more frequent."

 

[1] https://www.dwnews.com/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/60223217/%E4%B8%A4%E5%B2%B8%E8%A7%82%E5%AF%9F%E5%8F%8C%E8%88%AA%E6%AF%8D%E7%96%91%E5%90%8C%E6%97%B6%E7%8E%B0%E8%BA%AB%E5%8F%B0%E6%B5%B7%E5%8C%97%E4%BA%AC%E6%96%B0%E5%8A%A8%E4%BD%9C%E7%9A%84%E4%B8%A4%E9%87%8D%E6%B7%B1%E6%84%8F, December 21, 2020, updated on December 23, 2020.

[2] https://www.dwnews.com/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/60222297/%E4%B8%A4%E5%B2%B8%E8%A7%82%E5%AF%9F%E5%BD%93%E6%AD%A6%E7%BB%9F%E5%8F%B0%E6%B9%BE%E9%80%89%E9%A1%B9%E8%BF%9B%E5%85%A5%E4%B8%AD%E5%85%B1%E5%AE%98%E6%96%B9%E8%A7%86%E9%87%8E, December 14, 2020.

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