Taipei: Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te issued China a stern warning and said, ‘Do not even attempt to cross the line. Chinese jets were found to have violated the Taiwanese airspace again. However, it would be best if you did not repeat it. Make no mistake, Taiwan wants peace, but we will defend our people.’ China is conducting an extensive exercise near Taiwanese boundaries. During the drills, Chinese fighter jets crossed the Taiwanese airspace two days in a row. The Taiwanese warning came in response to the incidents.
A few months ago, senior US military officials had warned that the Chinese Communist Party would try to take control of parts of the South China Sea given the world was busy battling the Coronavirus pandemic. Before this period as also after, China ratcheted up activities against Taiwan. In a meeting held at the end of May, a senior Chinese Communist Party member as even military official had insisted that the time was most opportune to launch an attack on Taiwan. Also, China was found to have intensified activities against Taiwan in the past few weeks.
A few days ago, Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Navy (PLAN) began drills in the Taiwan Strait. Chinese Spokesperson had informed that the exercises were organised for safeguarding national sovereignty and preparing its forces. The drills that were held by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) near the Taiwanese boundaries last month were considered massive. Chinese fighters were found to have repeatedly violated Taiwanese airspace during the drills. Furthermore, media reports claimed Taiwanese air defence systems had downed a Chinese aircraft. Thus, Taiwanese Vice President’s warning against the backdrop assumes much significance.
The US, along with Taiwan, appears to have begun preparations to counter Chinese belligerence against Taipei. In the last few months, the US started supplying defence equipment to Taiwan extensively. These included fighter jets, Harpoon missiles, Patriot missile defence system as well as torpedoes. At the same time, the US has stepped up the deployments and presence of its aircraft carriers, destroyers, bombers, drones and surveillance aircraft in the region. Legislation that allows the US Army permission for military action against a possible attack on Taiwan called the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act was introduced in the US Congress. Also, US Health Secretary Alex Azar, visited Taiwan last month. After that, the US had signed a deal with Taiwan for 66 advanced F-16V fighter jets.
China is nervous about the growing US-Taiwan cooperation and is therefore attempting to make provocative moves in the region.