(TibetanReview.net, Oct03’21) – On its national day of Oct 1 and ahead of Taiwan’s Oct 10 national day, China sent a record 38 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence zone, followed by another record 39 the next day as the US reiterated its commitment to help the island increase its capability to counter any invasion.
While there has been no official remark from Beijing on the development, China’s official globaltimes.cn Oct 3 cited Chinese mainland military expert Song Zhongping as saying the increasing scale of exercises was normal and routine since the PLA needed more deployment to deter armed forces on the island and foreign interference from other nations.
On Oct 2, a record 39 People’s Liberation Army warplanes entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ), the scmp.com Oct 3 cited the defence ministry of the self-ruled island as saying, breaking the previous record of 38 jets sent on Oct 1 as tensions across the Taiwan Strait continued to rise.
The report cited Taiwan’s defence ministry as saying a total of 20 PLA warplanes, 14 J-16 strike fighters, four Su-30 fighter jets and two Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, were observed in the southwest of Taiwan’s ADIZ during daylight hours on Oct 2.
This was stated to have been followed by a second sortie when another 19 PLA warplanes – including 12 J-16, 6 Su-30 and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft – were reported entering Taiwan’s ADIZ.
Taiwan’s air force was stated to have scrambled fighter jets, issued radio warnings and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor the activity.
In a previous record set in June, China sent 28 PLA warplanes in the island’s defence zone.
The scmp.com report noted that the latest flyovers came as tensions across the Taiwan Strait continued to escalate, making it one of the most dangerous flashpoints between mainland China and the US.
The record-breaking PLA exercises over the past two days could also be related to the late September movements of US aircraft carriers, globaltimes.cn cited “some other Chinese mainland military analysts” as saying.
Also, the show of force on China’s national day near Taiwan came in the same week it accused Britain of sending a warship into the Taiwan strait with “evil intentions,” noted theguardian.com Oct 3.
US President Joe Biden has continued to pursue closer ties with Taiwan, a democratic island of 23 million people that Beijing sees as a runaway province meant to be reunited, by force if necessary.
Taiwan’s official name is the Republic of China, used by authorities in Taiwan since Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist, or Kuomintang, forces retreated to the island in 1949 following their defeat by the Communists in the civil war.
China’s stepped up military and political pressure is meant to force Taiwan to accept Chinese sovereignty. However, Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedom and democracy, noted the abc.net.au Oct 3.
This is the stand of the current ruling Democratic Progressive Party while the opposition Kuomintang accepts a version of “one China” policy, envisaging reunification only with a free and democratic China.