FPI / December 29, 2022
By Richard Fisher
China and Russia concluded 2022 with Chinese coercive air exercises aimed at Taiwan and then combined Chinese and Russian naval and air coercive exercises aimed at both Japan and Taiwan.
The exercises sustained concerns that Russia will provide military assistance to a potential Chinese attempt to invade Taiwan.
These started on Dec. 13 when the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) deployed a record number of 18 Xian Aircraft Corporation H-6 bombers to violate the Southwest corner of Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
These were likely the newer H-6K variant seen in most such coercive exercises, a version that can carry up to six CJ-20 1,500-kilometer range nuclear warhead armed land attack cruise missiles (LACMs).
The H-6K can also carry up to 36 precision-guided munitions (PGMs), meaning this H-6K strike package could attack Taiwan with up to 108 LACMs or up to 648 PGMs.
PLA Naval (PLAN) operations were tracked by the Japanese Self Defense Forces starting on Dec. 12, when a Type 815 Dongdiao-class signals intelligence ship cruised down the West side of the Ryukyu Islands and then though the Miyako Strait.
Then on Dec. 15, the Japan Ministry of Defense reported that a PLAN carrier battle group was also transiting close to the West side of the Ryukyus to the Miyako Strait.
This group consisted of the carrier Liaoning (VV-16), two Type 055 cruisers, two Sovreminniy-class destroyers, one Type-052D destroyer, one Type-054A frigate, and a Type-901 large replenishment ship.
Free Press International