U.S., China fly military planes over Taiwan’s airspace . . .
A U.S. military transport aircraft based in Okinawa, Japan, flew through the west side of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, after making an application to do so through accepted ADIZ protocols. Several hours later, an unconfirmed number of Chinese fighter planes flew unannounced through the southern end of Taiwan’s ADIZ. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense responded with radio warnings, monitoring the planes’ movements and sending its fighter planes to shadow them.
Adding fuel to the fire . . .
Cross-Taiwan Strait relations have grown increasingly tense since the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party beat the Nationalist Party in Taiwan’s 2016 general election. In January, Taiwan re-elected incumbent President Tsai Ing-Wen, further irking Beijing. But Taiwan is also caught between China and the U.S., both posturing over a wide variety of issues, including disagreements over trade, COVID-19 responses, and China’s new national security law in Hong Kong. As a sign of its disapproval, China’s army began a 10-week-long military exercise in May, and last week conducted live-fire drills and landing exercises, all meant to intimidate Taipei. Meanwhile, the U.S. sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait on the June 4 anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the seventh such sailing of the year. Taiwan, meanwhile, has announced it will proceed with its annual war games on July 13.
Growing consensus in Washington . . .
Support for Taiwan by the U.S. and other countries has often been more muted, given the extreme sensitivity of the issue for Beijing – and the potential for strong Chinese repercussions. However, elected officials in Washington seem to be emboldened by a worsening U.S.-China relationship. In May, the Trump Administration approved the sale of C$240 million worth of torpedoes to Taiwan, and tougher talk and action on China is receiving increased bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress.
- Focus Taiwan: Military planes from China and the U.S. enter Taiwan's airspace
- South China Morning Post: Chinese warplanes enter Taiwan Strait after US flyover
- South China Morning Post: US warship sails through Taiwan Strait on Tiananmen Square anniversary