Military incursion enflames China-Taiwan tensions

By Ivy Lewis, Staff Writer

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China sent nearly 150 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) last week, the latest in a series of military escalations by China against Taiwan.

This incursion into Taiwan’s ADIZ occurred after the U.S. State Department urged Beijing to cease military activity in Taiwanese airspace. The U.S. warned that the increase in military activity around the island could significantly destabilize China-Taiwan relations.

“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

In the wake of the aerial invasions, Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng responded to fears that China might attempt to retake Taiwan through force.

Photo courtesy of
Taiwanese Defense Minister Kuo-cheng expressed his alarm regarding Chinese aggression towards the country but did not think war was likely.

“By 2025, China will bring the cost and attrition to its lowest. It has the capacity now, but it will not start a war easily, having to take many other things into consideration,” he said.

Taiwan’s premier Su Tseng-chan, offered additional thoughts on the military activity.

“The world has seen China’s repeated violations of regional peace and pressure on Taiwan,” he said. Tseng-chan also called on Taiwan to strengthen its military and international presence.

“Only then will countries that want to annex Taiwan not dare to easily resort to force,” he concluded. 

Chinese military activity in Taiwan has increased dramatically under President Xi Jinping, including near-daily aerial intrusion into the Taiwanese ADIZ. 

The PLA has also engaged in military drills in maritime areas near Taiwan and shifted from the use of primarily surveillance planes to fighter jets and bombers.

Beijing’s military presence in Taiwan is connected to the long-term dispute over the status of Taiwan as a sovereign nation following the end of the Chinese Civil War.

The war took place between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang-led government of the Republic of China. The Communist party gained control over mainland China and established the People’s Republic of China, while the Kuomintang faction retreated to the island of Taiwan.

Beijing claims that Taiwan is a province of China, while the Taiwanese government states that Taiwan has operated as a de facto sovereign state since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 and is thus not subject to rule by mainland China.

President Jinping has pledged to unify and maintain China and Taiwan, even through the use of military force.

Taiwan has called for international aid against perceived mounting security threats from China.

Concern that China may attempt to launch a full-scale invasion of Taiwan within the next few decades has resulted in increased tension in China’s diplomatic relationships, particularly as more nations recognize Taiwan as a de facto sovereign state.

Although Taiwan is not legally recognized as a sovereign nation by most countries, the Taiwanese government has established diplomatic relations with several powerful nations including the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

Australian and U.S. governments currently acknowledge China’s claim over Taiwan, but they do not recognize it as legally binding.

Australia has the potential to dissuade China from committing a full-scale invasion of Taiwan due to its arsenal of nuclear submarines. Australia will increase its technological capability for nuclear submarines after last month’s U.S., U.K. and Australia “AUKUS” deal. 

In light of the recent increase in military activity, President Joe Biden expressed the importance of maintaining U.S.-Chinese relations on an international level by following past diplomatic agreements regarding Taiwan.

 “I’ve spoken with Xi about Taiwan. …We’ll abide by the Taiwan agreement,” he said.

Biden also stated that he would not support any Chinese military action in Taiwan.

 “We made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement,” he added.