• Directory of Taiwan

China says it will hold 'regular' drills east of Taiwan's median line

Chinese state-run media claims median line is 'imaginary" line with no legal basis

PLA aircraft and ships engaged in military exercise near Taiwan. (Weibo, PLAN photo)

PLA aircraft and ships engaged in military exercise near Taiwan. (Weibo, PLAN photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese state-run media on Sunday (Aug. 7) announced that although four days of military exercises were set to end, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will start to hold "regular" military drills east of Taiwan's median line.

In protest of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, China announced on Aug. 2 it would hold military exercises and live-fire drills in six zones around Taiwan from Aug. 4 to Aug. 7. The Eastern Theater Command of the PLA announced on state-run mouthpiece Xinhua on Sunday that it was continuing joint combat exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan to test its "capabilities of using joint fire to strike land targets and long-range air targets."

China's state-run TV news station CCTV cited a commentator as saying that the PLA will begin to hold "regular" military drills on the eastern side of Taiwan's median line, according to a Reuters report. The commentator claimed that the median line has never received legal recognition and described it as an "imaginary" line conceived by the U.S. military in the previous century to meet their combat needs.

Since 1955, there has been a tacit agreement between China and Taiwan not to cross the median line, also known as the Davis Line. However, on Sept. 21, 2020, Beijing unilaterally denied the existence of the median line in the Taiwan Strait.

In fall 2020, PLA Air Force aircraft crossed the median line on a few occasions and entered Taiwan's ADIZ. Over the past two years, there have been other incidents in which PLA forces have crossed the median line, but it is still a relatively rare occurrence.

During the 2022 Chinese military exercises around Taiwan, PLA warplanes and warships breached the median line on multiple occasions. On Sunday (Aug. 7) alone, 66 PLA aircraft and 14 naval vessels operated in the Taiwan Strait, with 12 planes crossing the median line.