TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A U.S.-based consultant has created a map showing the locations of 57 Chinese balloons that have been reported in Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ), which shows an "uptick" in flights by Chinese military aircraft around Taiwan following the elections on Jan. 13.
On Wednesday (Jan. 31), Ian Ellis, the founder of IEJ Media, posted an infographic to X (formerly Twitter) with the flight paths of Chinese balloons reported in the ADIZ in January. From Jan. 1-31, 57 Chinese balloons were reported by the Ministry of National Defense.
At least 17 flew directly over the main island of Taiwan. The map shows major Chinese air bases in Fujian Province that are directly across from Taiwan, including Zhanghou Airbase, Hui'an Airbase, and Longtian Airbase, and the approximate flight paths of the balloons.
The graphic shows some of Taiwan's major cities, strategic bases, the dates when balloons were reported and the quantity, and the locations of red beaches — which are beaches deemed suitable for a large-scale amphibious landing by the People's Liberation Army. He also included the location of amphibious staging areas in southern Fujian Province.
Ellis posted a table that showed that since the start of 2024, 298 Chinese military aircraft and 136 naval vessels were detected around Taiwan. He also included charts that demonstrated an increase in Chinese military flights after the election with spikes of 24 aircraft on Jan. 17, 18 on Jan. 24, and 33 on Jan. 26.
However, he pointed out the number of aircraft detected and reported to have entered the ADIZ was below the average for 2023. He said the number of flights detected this month was also well below the numbers seen during previous major exercises, such as the 103 recorded in September 2023.
In addition, Ellis observed that Chinese air operations in January were in line with the 12-month average of 13 per day, except for five surges that ranged from 15 to 33.
(X, @ianellisjones image)
Third through fifth columns are aircraft, while sixth through eight are balloons. (X, @ianellisjones image)
Approximate paths of Chinese balloons detected from Jan. 1-31. (X, @ianellisjones image)