Taiwan’s defense minister last night condemned the massive incursion into its airspace by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) air force and announced that they had, as a result, removed the fighter and activated its ground system. Development of air defense missile situation to repel any fighter.
But, as they are accustomed to, the instruments of Communist China took a short turn, then turned back, crossing the Taiwan Strait in the opposite direction, the region being extremely sensitive.
Violation of airspace jump 50%
The Ministry of Defense, which carefully maintains a logbook (accessible in Chinese and English) of all airspace violations on its website (and its Twitter account), the number and type of aircraft identified by its surveillance system, posted on Twitter, also, as usual, shows the map. Where they have appeared.
In this case, 30 Chinese military aircraft, including 20 fighters, entered the island’s air defense identification zone (Jida or “Adiz” air defense identification zone in English) at the southwestern tip.
More or less, during other massive incursions into the same area, a record of January 23, 2022 (see tweet below), during which 39 Chinese military aircraft entered the airspace of the nationalist island.
Very sharp acceleration of Taiwan’s airspace violations
Last year, Taiwan recorded a record 969 Chinese military airstrikes, according to the AFP database. More than double (+ 255%) Compared to 380 expeditions in 2020.
On October 4, 2021 alone, 56 aircraft entered Taiwan’s Adije and 196 full October, beginning with China’s National Day.
Taiwan has reported 465 intrusions so far this year, an increase of nearly + 50% over the same period last year.
On the downside, however, we should not forget that Taiwan’s indigenous peoples are much wider than its airspace, and that China’s own indigenous peoples even intersect at certain points with its territory. Which takes nothing away from the intentional nature of all these intrusions.
Taiwan’s aging fleet under pressure
The attacks put pressure on Taiwanese aircraft, which have suffered a number of fatal crashes in recent years. Taiwan’s local media reported the death of a pilot in a plane crash south of Kaohsiung on Tuesday.
Already in January, a pilot died after the F-16V, the most advanced aircraft in Taiwan’s fleet, crashed at sea. In March 2021, Taipei shut down all its military flights, when two MidAir fighters collided (one killed, one missing) – the third fatal crash in less than six months. The issue of fleet renewal is therefore on the agenda, as evidenced by the order of Lockheed Martin last September.
China is a way to express its desire and dissatisfaction
Nevertheless, the “small game” of Taiwan’s airspace violations has been going on for years. According to observers, this was one of the ways in which communist China was constantly reminded of its relentless desire to put pressure on the retreating Chinese nationalists on the island in 1949 and to reunite this part of the region.
But it is also a way to express dissatisfaction with Americans who, in a complex history, have become their unofficial protectors through the doctrine of “strategic ambiguity” since the 1970s.
Repeated diplomatic catastrophe for the former Central Empire
Indeed, this important intrusion took place in a difficult context for the former Central Empire, which has recently suffered a number of diplomatic setbacks.
Thus, yesterday, despite four days of intense negotiations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had to acknowledge his failure after rejecting the representatives of the 10 island states who had gathered in Fiji for a huge cooperation agreement proposed by China. Five-year plan to strengthen economic and security cooperation between these countries. Beijing hung on to their multimillion-dollar financial aid and the possibility of China entering a huge market.
President Biden’s statement that the United States would defend Taiwan against Communist China was the right thing to do.
িনLindseyGrahamSC (indLindseyGrahamSC) May 23, 2022
A remark sharply contradicting the American administration’s usual caution on the question of direct military intervention, which was later amended by the White House, which then insisted that its policy was a possibility of “strategic ambiguity”. An intervention did not change.
But there is heated debate in Washington over whether “strategic clarity” should be adopted in the face of Beijing’s increasingly aggressive approach.