As U.S. support for Taiwan grows, China risks war
The Chinese de facto annexation of Hong Kong and subsequent martial law declaration there is driving China to take bigger and bigger risks, which includes war with the United States, judging by Chinese military preparations against U.S. ally Taiwan.
“Chinese aircraft crossed the mid-line to enter the island’s air defence identification zone on Friday and Saturday,” reports Reuters, “prompting Taiwan to scramble jets to intercept them, and President Tsai Ing-wen to call China a threat to the region.”
While it’s most likely that China is simply testing Taiwan’s reaction and warning off the U.S. from closer ties to Taiwan, China may feel that the U.S. would not defend its close ally while the U.S. is distracted over domestic issues, including race riots, the coronavirus and bitter elections.
“Taiwanese and Chinese combat aircraft normally observe the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait and do not cross it,” says Reuters, “although there is no official agreement between Taipei and Beijing on doing so, and the rule is observed unofficially.”
Taiwan authorities said that over the weekend there were several dozen incursions across the midline.
“Taken together, the repeated incursions, which came from multiple directions and involved a combination of sophisticated fighter jets and heavy bombers, is without modern precedent and marks a significant escalation in cross-strait tensions,” says CNN.
“What we are seeing now is not just a situation across the Taiwan Strait, but a regional situation. China’s recent military activities, especially in the past few days, clearly constitute a threat of force, which is part of their verbal attacks and military threats (against Taiwan),” President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters Sunday.
Taiwan, an island nation created by the remnants of the Chinese Army defeated by communist forces in 1949, has never been recognized by the communists as independent from China.
“Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing. “The so-called mid-line of the Strait does not exist.”
It may not exist for China, but Reuters says that since 2016 there have been only five incursions over the Straights’ midline.
“In apparent response to Beijing’s repeated threats, Washington has increased cooperation with Taipei, approving new arms sales, including for F-16 fighter jets and M1A1 main battle tanks, as well as sending Azar, a cabinet secretary, to visit last month, making him the highest-ranking US official to visit the island in decades,” says CNN.
The Taiwanese side for its part is also is pushing for a trade agreement with the U.S. to help fill the gap for the U.S-Chinese trade hiatus to cement global economic security interrupted by China’s pandemic and political supply chain problems — and as de facto recognition of an independent Taiwan.
The U.S. is tempted to act on that impulse, because Taiwan is the largest producer of contract computer microchips in the world.
“Despite China’s continuous pressure to block countries from negotiating any official agreements with Taiwan, in 2013, Taiwan successfully signed trade agreements with New Zealand and Singapore,” the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry told American Wire in May.
“It’s not a time for political temper tantrums to stand in the way of global economic security.”
But China has a mighty temper, and a cornerstone of its domestic and foreign policy has been the reabsorption—by force if necessary – of Taiwan, which the Trump administration seems equally determined to stop.
PHOTO: Taiwan Ministry of National Defense
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