China Sends Record Number of Military Planes Near Taiwan

149 fighters, bombers in past five days . . . 

Over the past five days, the Chinese military has sent a record 149 planes close to Taiwan, including fighter jets and long-range bombers. The military aircraft crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait – the line used by Taiwan to monitor incursions into what it calls its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). There is no official agreement between China and Taiwan on the line. The recent Chinese flights represent a significant escalation. Taiwan reported 380 Chinese incursions into its ADIZ in 2020 and more than 600 so far in 2021.

Why such an escalation?

Chinese incursions have been growing steadily in recent years, with analysts suggesting a range of explanations. Some believe they are intended as a show of force to the international community and to put pressure on Taiwan following geopolitical events Beijing sees as endangering reunification. Some have pointed to China's domestic challenges and say the Chinese incursions are intended to boost nationalism around China’s national day, October 1. Others have identified the increase in military flights as a response to recent geopolitical developments in the region. The Japan Times, for example, reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the flights to counter military exercises held earlier in September by Britain, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the U.S.

Foreign Minister of Taiwan warns of war . . .

On Monday, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister warned that Taiwan is preparing for war with China. Many countries have voiced support for Taiwan; the U.S., Japan, and Australia have all warned Beijing and called for restraint. But despite a tense situation and the threat of a Chinese invasion, which would likely result in a significant war, most analysts argue that Beijing will behave rationally, weighing the cost of an invasion against its benefits, at least until its military capabilities match those of the U.S. and its allies in the region. To deter China from taking military action, it is likely that Taiwan will continue to seek additional military capabilities and international support. All is added fuel on the fire of an already dangerous security dilemma.