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China ends unprecedented show of force around Taiwan with enduring repercussions

Taiwan Navy personnel stand guard on the Chi Yang (Knox)-class frigate, ROCS Ning Yang , on 7 August while it was berthed near Keelung City as China conducts major drills around Taiwan's main island. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) appears to have wound down the series of unprecedented military exercises it was conducting around Taiwan from 4 to 7 August.

Publicly available data on 8 August indicate that aircraft and merchant ships have largely resumed their routes through the six exclusion zones around the main island of Taiwan, which had been demarcated as exercise areas by the Chinese government during the period.

Co-ordinates of these zones were released by China's state-sponsored Xinhua News Agency on 2 August, hours after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan. Since then, there have been no further Notices to Mariners (NOTMARs) or Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) from the Chinese government on military exercises in the vicinity.

In a move that has provided insight into China's possible order of battle in the event of an invasion of Taiwan, the PLA began its series of military exercises ahead of the indicated 4–7 August timeline by deploying various electronic warfare and intelligence-gathering aircraft into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on 2 August.

These include a Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, one Shaanxi Y-9 electronic warfare (EW) aircraft, and one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic intelligence (ELINT) aircraft, according to information provided by the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense (MND). Also detected that day were 10 Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-16s and eight Shenyang J-11 fighters aircraft.

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