Following China’s record-breaking military intrusions into Taiwan’s air defense zone in recent days, Taiwan’s president has warned China that Taiwan will do everything it takes to defend itself.
China has flown 145 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone in the last four days, according to Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson:
China flew 145 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone in past 4 days. Today marked most ever, 52. Four aircraft carriers now exercising in W Pacific — USS Ronald Reagan, USS Carl Vinson and HMS Queen Elizabeth. Japan’s carrier has U.S. F-35s aboard on first day new PM in office.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) October 4, 2021
Today, there’s an article in The Guardian explaining how Taiwan’s president is responding to these Chinese incursions with a warning of her own:
Taiwan is committed to defending its democracy against an increasingly aggressive China, the island’s president has vowed, warning of “catastrophic consequences” for the region should it fall.
The comments from Tsai Ing-wen, in an essay published on Tuesday, came amid record-breaking incursions by Chinese warplanes into its air defence zone. On Tuesday Taiwan’s premier, Su Tseng-chang, said the “over the top” activity violated regional peace, and Taiwan needed to be on alert.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has sent nearly 150 planes into Taiwan’s air defence identification (ADIZ) zone in the first four days of October, in what mainland figures and media have labeled a demonstration of strength but which world governments condemned as an act of intimidation and aggression.
Writing for Foreign Affairs magazine, Tsai stressed Taiwan’s desire for peace but said “if its democracy and way of life are threatened, Taiwan will do whatever it takes to defend itself”.
However she also urged other nations to “understand the value of working with Taiwan”, against the broader threat posed by Beijing. “And they should remember that if Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system.”
Beijing claims Taiwan as a province in China, and has pledged to take it, by force if necessary. It considers Tsai’s government to be separatists, but she has said Taiwan is already a sovereign nation with no need to declare independence, and has no wish for conflict.
“Amid almost daily intrusions by the People’s Liberation Army, our position on cross-strait relations remains constant: Taiwan will not bend to pressure, but nor will it turn adventurist, even when it accumulates support from the international community,” she said.
Few countries formally recognise Taiwan, a situation which Tsai said had compelled Taiwan to think asymmetrically, forming unofficial partnerships and agreements, and contributing to international bodies as a non-state party. With growing ties around the world, Taiwan was an increasingly important democracy, trading partner and global supplier, and a crucial segment of the first island chain, which stretches from northern Japan to Borneo, Tsai said.
“Should this line be broken by force, the consequences would disrupt international trade and destabilise the entire western Pacific,” she said. “In other words, a failure to defend Taiwan would not only be catastrophic for the Taiwanese; it would overturn a security architecture that has allowed for peace and extraordinary economic development in the region for seven decades.”
The Guardian documents several responses to these incursions from allies around the globe, including the US:
On Tuesday, Japan’s foreign minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, said he hoped Taiwan and China were able to resolve the issues peacefully. He said Japan was weighing up possible scenarios in order to make its own preparations.
It followed comments from Australia’s government and the US state department urging Beijing to cease its threats or use of force. The White House also said it was in private communications through diplomatic channels, about China’s actions regarding Taiwan.
Taiwan’s foreign minister announced on Tuesday a group of French senators will visit the island this week.
Taiwan hopes to provide a deterrence to China through strong international ties and investment in its defence capabilities, including arms purchases through the US.
As Tomlinson noted above, there were four aircraft carriers doing exercises in the West Pacific yesterday, including the US, UK and Japan. Here’s a bit more info on that:
Two U.S. carrier strike groups drilled with the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21) and a Japanese big-deck warship over the weekend in a major naval exercise in the waters off the southeast of Okinawa, Japan.
The exercise involved six different navies – the U.S Navy, the U.K. Royal Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy – making up a total of 17 surface ships, which included four aircraft carriers.
I’m certain these exercises aren’t coincidental, but the question is if any country will actually stand behind Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. After seeing Biden kowtow to the Taliban in August and earlier this year off the coast of Ukraine, I have a strong suspicion that China’s communist president sees this as his best chance to invade Taiwan. He understands that a simple threat of war will make Biden cower. If the United States declines to defend Taiwan, the United Kingdom and Japan may follow suit.
He’s also aware that American Democrats have a history of enabling conquest on their watch, as seen by Obama and Biden’s approval of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The point is I doubt President Xi sees these military exercises as much of a threat to any invasion plans he may have, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he begins an invasion of Taiwan in the weeks or months ahead.