A group of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) H-6K bombers and Su-30 and J-11 fighter jets conducted a mission Monday “that circled the island of Taiwan, further improving their ability to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a PLAAF spokesman said this week, according to a fact sheet obtained by China Daily.
Taiwan, an island nation that generally considers itself independent from Beijing, might take issue with the notion that China's warplanes support its sovereignty. Beijing, however, considers Taiwan to be a wayward province that should eventually be incorporated back into China and has not ruled out using force to do so.
"Multiple bombers and reconnaissance planes have flown routes that circled the island of Taiwan," Sr. Col. Shen Jinke reportedly said. According to China Daily, the mission marked the ninth routine drill around Taiwan in the past four months, and noted that the first such circling mission occurred last December.
"The Air Force is an important force in maintaining situations, managing crises and preventing and winning wars," Shen said, noting that the PLAAF "is modernizing to become a strategic combat force capable of fighting in all of China's domain… we must expand our strategic outlook in systematic far-sea exercises, keep a sober mind, improve emergency awareness and safeguard strategic interests."
The act also states that the US expects to "maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan."
Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted a draft law to the State Duma on the ratification of the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic about the need to expand the territory of the logistics center in the port of Tartus.
In fact, it goes about creating a full-fledged infrastructure for the Mediterranean squadron. Such a base used to exist in the times of the Soviet Union - as counterbalance to the Sixth US Navy. Can Russia build such a naval base again?
The agreement will be valid for 49 years. The document is defensive in nature and is not directed against other states. Eleven Russian warships, including nuclear-powered vessels, will be able to stay in the port of Tartus. The agreement can be automatically extended for 25 years.
Plots of land, the water area of the port of Tartus, as well as real estate objects will be transferred to Russia for free for the duration of the agreement. The personnel of the base (the text of the agreement indicates it as the "logistics center"), as well as members of crews will enjoy "privileges and immunities."
In a nutshell, Russia receives the former naval base of the Syrian Navy in its entirety. Given the terms of the agreement, it would be foolish to refuse from such a great opportunity. Yet, it is not enough to have a base at one's disposal, one needs to maintain it properly.
Interfax news agency earlier reported with reference to an informed source that the channel in the port of Tartus would be broadened and deepened. "In the future, two new piers for mooring ships with a displacement of over 10,000 tons will be built along with a complex of residential and administrative buildings for purposes of the Russian Navy," the source then said.
There were no immediate reports of Israeli retaliation to the rocket launches, but such a response was expected, in light of similar reactions to past attacks.