In a predictable move, China has sent an estimated 150 fighter jets into Taiwanese airspace over the past five days in a provocative action that coincides with the 110th anniversary of the founding of the republic of China.
Taiwan is a democratic bastion located off the coast of the authoritarian mainland of China. China claims sovereignty over the island, but Taiwan considers itself an independent nation.
But that hasn’t stopped China from threatening Taiwan with increasing boldness, and the Chinese regime has consistently insisted that it will reclaim Taiwan by military offensive if necessary.
Reuters reported, “Since Friday, when China marked its national day, the country has embarked upon a massive ramping up of its missions, with almost 150 aircraft flying into the defense zone over the space of four days. Taiwanese fighter jets scrambled to warn away the Chinese planes, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them.”
The BBC reported that, “Military observers said the maneuver could also be a way of warning Tsai not to make a ‘provocative speech’ on the 110th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China on October 10, a date known as the ‘double tenth.’”
The South China Morning Post reported, “Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang lashed out at Beijing for the biggest ever sortie into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone. The previous record was set on June 15 when 28 warplanes entered the island’s airspace.
‘[Mainland] China has been wantonly engaged in military aggression, damaging regional peace,’ Su told reporters in Kaohsiung on Saturday morning.”
The conflict between China and Taiwan began in 1949 when Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek was forced to retreat from the mainland to Taiwan by Communist forces.
A precarious peace and diplomatic controversy have existed ever since.
The BBC outlined the basics of the conflict this way:
“A civil war broke out in China, and the then-leader Chiang Kai-shek’s troops were beaten back by Mao Zedong’s Communist armies.
Chiang and the remnants of his Kuomintang (KMT) government fled to Taiwan in 1949. This group, referred to as Mainland Chinese and then making up 1.5m people, dominated Taiwan’s politics for many years – even though they only account for 14% of the population…
In 2004, China passed a so-called anti-secession law, stating China’s right to use “non-peaceful means” against Taiwan if it tried to “secede” from China.”
So, how did the Biden administration respond? Well, in keeping with their trend thus far, they did so “diplomatically”—a far cry from the good old days when Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen” if they crossed the US.
The Biden administration released the following tepid statement in response to Chinese aggression:
“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.
We have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability, and we will maintain our commitments as outlined in the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. The U.S. commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region. We will continue to stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values and deepen our ties with democratic Taiwan.”
Given Biden’s feckless handling of foreign policy so far, I wouldn’t be counting on competent help from the US if I were Taiwan.
And this could spell disaster not only for Taiwan, but potentially for Asia and the world at large.