China's exercising its forces during the pandemic may be an attempt to challenge the US' presence in the region.


In March 2020, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) air and maritime forces undertook extensive exercises south-west of Taiwan and, in isolated incidents, they confronted Japanese and South Korean forces. Purported to be using COVID-19 to position itself as the good global citizen, China sent out doctors and medical equipment. However, there is concern of the cost accumulating in its wake. While China's actions are not unprecedented, choosing the aggressive exercising of its forces during the pandemic could not only signal less positive intentions, it could also trigger in actual conflict. China's increased military activities may be designed to contrast its growing maritime power with the problems the US Navy is facing in maintaining a viable presence in the western pacific. Consider not only the geopolitical effects of the PLA's heightened activity near Taiwan but what military capability would be required to counter any conflict, if it were to ensue.