Kicking off the new year in an unsurprising fashion, the Chinese Military was reported to be taking to the skies with their spy weather balloons. As reported by the Taiwanese Defense Ministry on Jan 3rd, the balloons had been spotted on the 1st and 2nd. In total, four balloons were reported, with three being tracked across the canter of Taiwan Island. These balloons flew close to the airbase in Ching Chuan Kang.
Back in December 2023, they detected multiple balloons going down the Taiwan Strait last month, but none of them went across the island as these three did. Officials have refused to comment on what the balloons are carrying, but many expect it is spy equipment as they flew over the US in 2023. From images that have been leaked, it seems clear that they are similarly equipped and likely doing heavy recon on the island and their response times.
Many believe these balloons were launched to instill fear in the people of Taiwan ahead of their January 13th election. Incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen has reached her limit for running, so the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) now has her VP, William Lai, running. Most known as Lai Ching-te, he has been in the front since the start of the election. One of his biggest attractants for voters is his commitment to the same policies concerning China as Tsai.
China’s attempts to meddle in Taiwanese elections are well documented. This year they tried running a fusion ticket, but it failed miserably. As of late, they have been attempting to use intimidation tactics in the hope of getting people to walk away from Lai. On Jan 3rd, Chinese officials told voters they need to make the “correct choice.” In their description, this was not a choice between “peace and war, prosperity and decline.”
Thankfully, Lai is confident that his party and their voters will remain strong in the face of Chinese oppression, but their attempts to interfere have left him “very concerned.”