Week of December 18, 2001

"China’s newest Russian warplanes, Su-30 fighter bombers, carried out probing exercises along the line of demarcation between China and Taiwan over the Taiwan Strait recently, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
The probing was detected in late November and also included Russian Su-27s ...

It was the first time U.S. intelligence agencies had spotted Su-30s used over the Taiwan Straits. Previous encounters were carried out by Chinese J-7 and Su-27s.  Russia recently delievered the latest batch of Su-30s to China. They are part of a major buildup by the Chinese military.

Taiwanese IDF jets were scrambled from west coast bases to intercept the Chinese jets.It has been months since the Chinese conducted similar aggressive flights near the island.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Ming Pao newspaper reported last week that pressure is mounting within China’s leadership to use force against Taiwan.  The results of the Legislative Yuan, county magistrates and city mayors in Taiwan has increased pressure within the Communist Party and military for a military solution to the Taiwan issue, the newspaper stated Dec. 4.

The respected daily quoted “informed sources” in Beijing as saying that the rise of pro-independence sentiment in Taiwan is driving Chinese leaders to seek a military solution ..."