China has signaled its first siren of absolute disregard towards not only the US but also for their neighboring country, Taiwan. There’s no question that tensions have escalated between the two countries in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Monday marked the worst Chinese intrusion since January in Taiwan. Days after US President Joe Biden warned China against invading Taiwan, the same day a US official visited the island to discuss security with leaders, Taiwan says it deployed fighter jets to warn off 30 warplanes sent by China into its air defense zone. Following China’s disruption of a typical air force day, Taiwan could scramble its air force and deploy air defense missile systems in response.
Taiwan has expressed to not only world leaders but was bold enough to issue survival books to each citizen a few months ago as a precaution if China were ever to invade Taiwan, similar to how Russia invaded Ukraine.
According to an AFP news agency database, Taiwan saw 969 Chinese warplane intrusions into its ADIZ last year, more than twice the 380 carried out in 2020. According to AFP, Taiwan has reported 465 invasions in 2022, signaling a near 50 percent increase from the same period last year. The increased activity is putting further strain on Taiwan’s air force, which on Tuesday delayed new pilot flight training after reporting a non-related deadly accident this year.
Earlier this month, tensions twirled between China and the US after China’s Foreign Ministry condemned the Western country for changing the wording on its State Department website about Taiwan. The quote said that “political manipulation” will not change the existing situation in the Taiwan Strait. The section on Taiwan on the State Department’s website has been updated to remove language opposing Taiwan’s independence and accept Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is a part of China.
Last week, US President Joe Biden threatened to defend Taiwan with force. After aggravating China, both Russian and Chinese warplanes neared Tokyo’s airspace. Amplifying the convenient timing of it all, the intrusion occurred during the Quad Summit and US President Biden’s visit to Tokyo. To combat the confusion, Japanese jets attempted to scramble the warplanes. Analysts and advisers believe that Biden’s end goal of going to Tokyo was to carry a clear message to China: “don’t try what Russia did in Ukraine anywhere in Asia, especially not in Taiwan.”
The two communist countries seem to have grown closer in this past year. Russian President Vladimir Putin was so bold as to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing when other World leaders protested in light of blatant human rights abuses in China; this seemed to define the relationship between the two countries. It appears as though China seems to be taking a move out of Russia’s playbook, seeming to fester and annoy, poking at any problematic country to test relationships before launching a potential all-out invasion of Taiwan.
Following the latest incursion, on Tuesday, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said there were plans for “cooperation” between the Taiwan military and the US National Guard. Although the US has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is the island’s most prominent international supporter and supplier of weapons. It follows what it calls a policy of “strategic ambiguity.” In his speech, Tsai added, “We look forward to closer and deeper Taiwan-US cooperation on regional security matters.”