Tensions increase as Chinese flights near Taiwan intensify

Taipei, Taiwan — China, which made a record number of military flights near Taiwan last week, has renewed its fierceness by increasing harassment of its alleged island and claiming territorial ambitions in the region. It shows grace and military sophistication.

China’s PLA flew 56 planes from Taiwan’s southwest coast on Monday, setting a new record and curbing four days of sustained pressure with 149 flights. Everyone was in international airspace, but Taiwan’s defense forces scrambled accordingly, raising the fear that any failure could cause unintended escalation.

The sortie is the United States and other Western democracies in Asia as China, with its growing diplomatic and military power, faces greater opposition from countries in the region and Taiwan seeks more global support and recognition. It came because of the growing presence of the Navy from democracies.

Visitors see Chinese military J-16D electronic warfare plane
Visitors will see the Chinese military J-16D electronic warfare aircraft and KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft on the left at Airshow China 2021 held in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, southern China on September 29, 2021. (NgHan Guan / AP photo)

The United States called China’s latest actions “dangerous” and “unstable,” and China replied that the United States sold weapons to Taiwan and that vessels navigating the Taiwan Strait were provocative.

At the same time as the flight, the United States, along with its allies, strengthened its naval operations in the Indo-Pacific and challenged Beijing’s territorial claims in important waterways.

“It’s been the toughest situation in 40 years since I joined the army,” Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-chen told parliamentarians on Wednesday.

Most agree that the war is not imminent, but Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is even more at stake if Beijing successfully manages the past threat of forcibly occupying the island as needed. I warned that I was doing it.

“If Taiwan collapses, the consequences will be devastating to the regional peace and democratic alliance system,” she wrote in an ardent editorial in a foreign magazine published Tuesday. “In today’s global conflict of values, authoritarianism shows an advantage over democracy.”

China regularly flies military aircraft to Taiwan’s “air defense identification zone.” This is the international airspace that Taiwan counts as a buffer for defense strategy, but previous flights usually involved at most a few planes.

Euan Graham, a defense analyst at Singapore’s International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that perhaps more important than the number of planes was the composition of the group with fighters, bombers and airborne early warning and control aircraft.

“It’s a sophisticated level. It looks like a strike package, and it’s part of the pressure step-up,” he said. “This is not a couple of fighters approaching and going straight after placing one wing across the median. This is a much more purposeful operation.”

Controlling Taiwan and its airspace is key to China’s military strategy, with recent sorties connecting to the Western Pacific and South China Sea.

With the latest operations since the Taiwanese government launched it more than a year ago, the total number of flights has exceeded 815 as of Monday.

China is rapidly improving and strengthening its military power, and recent flights show a higher level of technical expertise and power, said Chen Yi, a researcher at Taiwan’s Defense Security Institute. Tou said.

Oriana Skyler Mastro, a fellow and non-resident senior at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli International Institute, said Chinese troops were unable to refuel in the air or fly over the water 20, 30. He said it was in sharp contrast to a year ago.Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC

“I think China is trying to remind the United States and Taiwan that this is not the case and that they have choices,” she said.

At the same time, many democracies have increasingly expressed their support for Taiwan and strengthened naval operations in the region.

When China was in its most recent flight, 17 ships from the US, UK, Japan, Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand, including 3 aircraft carriers and 1 Japanese helicopter, were from Japan. Co-operated off the coast of Okinawa Island. , Northeast of Taiwan, aims to demonstrate its commitment to the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.

A few days ago, the British frigate HMS Richmond passed through the Taiwan Strait and announced its existence on Twitter, angering China. This denounced this move as “an indication of a meaningless being with an insidious intent.”

International action is an attempt to counter China’s frequent claims that China’s own actions correspond to American movements, demonstrating that democracy seeks to uphold established maritime laws and norms. Graham said.

“When Britain first crossed the Taiwan Strait and sailed down the central line since 2008, they know that China knows where that line is,” he said. rice field. “To make the status quo meaningful, we need to support it, and the most important way to do that is to physically demonstrate it with government assets such as warships.”

Australia, which also opposed China’s recent flight, announced last month an agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom to acquire a nuclear-powered submarine. This was seen as a powerful statement planning to play a larger role.

And Japan, which has long been cautious about relations with its major trading partner, China, is now securityizing the country in Beijing’s increasingly active activities in rural waters and around the Straits of Taiwan. It is regarded as a threat of. New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that dialogue with China is important, but Japan will cooperate with like-minded democracies to strengthen security alliances with the United States and other partners, and Tokyo will also strengthen its defense capabilities. Said it should be.

Taipei-based senior J. Michael Cole said:Fellow of the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington, DC

Under long-standing policy, the United States has provided Taiwan with political and military support, but has not explicitly promised to protect Taiwan from Chinese attacks.

“It’s more cues and psychological warfare, warning the United States not to get too close to Taiwan,” Mastro said.

By Huizhong Wu and David Rising

Associated Press