The PLA has made good on promises to step up the heat near Taiwan. On March 21, China's Liaoning aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait, pushing Taiwan to send fighter aircraft out to shadow the carrier group and its accompanying aircraft. Five days later, an unknown number of Xian H-6 bombers, Su-30 fighter aircraft and Y-8 transport aircraft were spotted flying over the Bashi Channel, a waterway immediately south of Taiwan that separates it from the Philippines, Reuters reported.
Taiwanese aircraft followed the Chinese aircraft toward the western Pacific Ocean before eventually returning to Taiwan, the country's defense ministry said.
After US President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act to improve US-Taiwan relations on March 17, a Chinese state media editorial warned that the People's Liberation Army would apply unspecified "military pressure" against Taiwan.
On March 18, the Chinese Defense Ministry stated that the "the Chinese Armed Forces are resolutely against" the bill and that it amounted to "direct interference in China's domestic affairs, harming the relations between the military forces" of China and the US.
Taiwan is one of the most sensitive topics between Beijing and the US. Beijing sees the self-ruling island as a wayward province, while the US has supplied Taiwan with billions of dollars' worth of military equipment since 1979, when Taipei and Washington informally established diplomatic relations under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.