At no time during the surge of Chinese flights has it been suggested that actual combat was imminent, but the Western analysts say China is able to make several points without firing a shot in anger.
"This is a well-thought-out program from Beijing, meant to be carried out over months and years, with several interrelated goals," said Jacob Stokes, a fellow in the Indo-Pacific security program at the Center for a New American Security."
The first is political-military signaling to try to intimidate the government in Taiwan and exert China's claim to the self-governing island," Stokes said.
"The second is getting PLA pilots and associated military support personnel experience conducting these types of operations under different conditions (such as at night), which will increase their capability to fight if called upon to do so," he said."
The third is to force Taiwan's military to scramble aircraft in response, which helps wear out Taiwan's smaller air force and pilots," Stokes said.
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