Taipei: Chinese warplanes intruded into the Taiwanese airspace during US Health Secretary Alex Azar’s visit to Taipei. A Taiwanese official informed that the Chinese fighter jets had entered into the Taiwanese airspace. The intrusion is believed a warning by China to Taiwan. Considering the events, Taiwan has deployed a unit of the Marine Corps at the Dongsha Islands in the South China Sea.
The US Secretary of Health, Alex Azar, arrived in Taiwan on Sunday. Azar’s visit is the highest-level visit of a US official to Taiwan after the country severed its diplomatic ties with the Island nation in 1979. On Monday morning, the US Health Secretary met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Health Secretary Azar told President Tsai that US President Donald Trump had sent a message of firm support and friendship to Taiwan and that it was his great pleasure to convey it to her. At the time, Azar praised Taiwan’s response to Covid-19 and said it was among the most successful in the world, and that it was a tribute to the open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan’s society and culture. Sources have informed that the US and Taiwan had signed a mutual health agreement.
As the US-Taiwan meetings were in progress, China was found to have violated the Taiwanese airspace. On Monday, the Chinese J-10 and J-11 crossed the Taiwan Strait and entered its territory. A Taiwanese official stated that it was the third time since 2016 that China has intruded into its territory after violating its airspace. The latest activity of the Chinese warplanes is a warning by Beijing to the US and Taiwan, Chinese media and analysts claim.
Taiwan took cognisance of the intrusion and drove away the Chinese planes, for which the island used its air defence missile system for the first time. The use of the missile defence system has underscored the threat of the growing intrusion of the Chinese fighters posed to the country. Last month, Taiwanese Foreign Minister drew attention to the Chinese incursions and expressed concerns saying it could be an indication of the increased risk of a Chinese attack.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has ramped up its military activities to counter the rising Chinese threat. The country has deployed a unit of the Marine Corps near the Dongsha Islands in the South China Sea. The group comprises of 200 soldiers, which have received specialised training from the US Army. If China attacked Taiwan, Dongsha Islands is said to be the first location the country would target. The Chinese media and analysts claimed that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had simulated launching a strike on the Dongsha Islands in one of its drills.