Taiwan Says ‘Record Number’ of Chinese Fighters, Bombers Cross into Its Air Defense Zone
A record number of fighter jets from the air force of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry announced in the latest episode of growing China – Taiwan tensions.
A total of 25 Chinese fighters, nuclear-capable borders, and other aircraft were intercepted over Taiwan’s ADIZ, said the Defense Ministry of the self-ruling island formally calling itself “the Republic of China”, as cited by BBC News.
China (the People’s Republic of China) and Taiwan (the Republic of China) have been separated since the end of Chinese Civil War in 1949. The ultimate victory of the communist forces of Mao Zedong, the People’s Liberation Army and, respectively, the Chinese Communist Party, caused the Chinese Republic’s nationalist forces of the Kuomintang party led by Chan Kai-shek to retreat to Taiwan.
The island of Taiwan was first annexed by the Qing Dynastry of China in 1683. It was ruled as a colony by the Empire of Japan from 1895 until the end of World War II in 1945.
The government of the self-ruling island of Taiwan (the Republic of China) has not formally declared its independence from the People’s Republic of China, and instead claims all of mainland China plus some additional territories which used to be controlled by the former Chinese Empire.
Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province. It has repeatedly threatened to take the island and achieve the “reunification” of China and Taiwan by force, should the latter issue a unilateral declaration of independence. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly stated that Taiwan is already an independent state, thus rendering a formal declaration unnecessary.
The issue of Taiwan’s status was one of the hottest during the Cold War, with the United States offering the island security guarantees against the People’s Republic of China. It has remained unresolved long after the US – PRC rapprochement in 1972, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, respectively the end of the Cold War, in 1991.
As of 2021, Taiwan is fully recognized as a sovereign country by only 14 of the total of 193 UN member states as well as the Holy See. It has unofficial relations with a total of 57 other countries, including the United States and other Western states, through consulates and representative offices.
Taiwan’s status as a parliamentary democracy and a developed market economy has aided its unofficial international relations, especially with Western democracies, even in the absence of widespread diplomatic recognition.
Under its One China policy, Beijing has been working to convince those countries that do recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state, to break off relations with the self-ruling island, and recognize the PRC as the sole representative of the Chinese nation.
The latest Chinese mission into Taiwan’s ADIZ involved 18 fighter jets, 4 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, two anti-submarine aircraft and an early warning aircraft, Taiwan said on Monday.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry also noted it had sent combat aircraft to warn the Chinese jets and deployed missile systems to monitor them. Monday’s entering of the Chinese military planes in Taiwan’s air defense zone occurred to the southwest of the island, near the Pratas islands, which are controlled by Taiwan.
In the past few months, China has performed constant flights over the international waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea.
The latest incident with what Taiwan says is a Chinese incursion into its air defense zone came a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared in a NBC News interview that the United States was concerned about China’s “increasingly aggressive actions” towards Taiwan.
Blinken also reiterated that the US had a legal commitment to Taiwan. He said Washington would “make sure Taiwan has the ability to defend itself”, and that it would be a “serious mistake for anyone to try to change the status quo by force”.
Western media reports say that the fight and bomber jets of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and Navy continue to “push the line” with movements into the air space and aquatory (water area) around Taiwan in terms of the limit that would cause a military reaction by Taiwanese forces.
Ivan Dikov, the founder of HeartlandHinterland.com, is the author of the book “Got Nukes, Mr. Dictator? You Hold on to Them!“, among other books.