China's Taiwan flyovers are becoming a daily thing

Ju Peng/Xinhua via AP

Yesterday, for the second day in a row, China flew warplanes well into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, with at least 30 J-17 and SU-30 fighter jets taking part in the exercise. While they didn’t fly directly over the Island, the planes were well within striking distance if hostilities broke out. The two sorties followed a similar exercise on Friday when nearly forty jets did the same thing. This provocative series of maneuvers drew immediate condemnation from the Taiwanese Premier and several western nations. Missing from the commentary was the White House, where no official statement on the incursion was released. That’s markedly different from Joe Biden’s response to some provocative comments from China in August. At that time, he said that the United States would treat Taiwan no differently than any of our NATO allies or South Korea or Japan, implying we might fight to defend them. White House spokespeople quickly walked back Biden’s comments, saying U.S. policy toward Taiwan “had not changed.” (Associated Press)

China flew more than 30 military planes toward Taiwan on Saturday, the second large display of force in as many days.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 39 aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in two sorties, one during the day and one at night. That followed a similar pattern on Friday, when 38 planes flew into the area south of the self-governing island…

Taiwan’s premier, Su Tseng-chang, spoke out on Saturday against the first day’s flights.

“China has always conducted brutal and barbarian actions to jeopardize regional peace,” he said while attending the opening ceremony of a science park in southern Taiwan.

We discussed this situation last month when I wrote about the coming battle for the Taiwan Strait. None of this is happening by accident or as a response to any sort of military initiative on the part of Taiwan. The Chinese Communist Party is deliberately rattling its sabers toward Taiwan and evaluating what the response from the rest of the world is.

Keep in mind that Taiwan has been a sore spot for China dating all the way back to the communist revolution in the late 1940s. When Mao Zedong ousted the Chinese Nationalist government, they fled to Taiwan and established a new government there. The CCP has never really gotten over that and they have continued to insist that Taiwan is part of mainland China ever since, though they haven’t moved to physically invade them and make that a reality.

But is that about to change? Recent events hint that it might. As evidence, I would suggest that the situation in Hong Kong was just a test case. China crushed the democratic government in Honk Kong in a matter of months and they did it without firing a shot. Then they waited to see what the response from the west would be. Aside from some disapproving statements, nobody lifted a finger, and China was paying attention. You’ll also recall how China pointed out that America doesn’t have the stomach to defend our allies after the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

That comment was aimed directly at Taiwan. And now the CCP knows what will likely happen if they physically invade Taiwan. The chances are that nothing at all will happen. Nobody wants to start a shooting war with China at this point. In reality, they might not even have to fire a shot to reestablish control of the island. They could copy the playbook from what they did in Hong Kong. If they park some ships off the coast and start flying regular sorties over the island, they could send in “delegations” to put the word out in Taiwan that they are back in charge. Taiwan would be unlikely to fire the first shot against China if they know that American and NATO troops won’t be on the way to save them.

Does that really sound so far-fetched to you? China is aggressively expanding its sphere of influence around the world now. Their belt and road initiative has seen them exerting increasing control in as many as seventy countries around the world since 2013. In almost every case they have been able to use their control of the global supply chain and the threat of potential military action (without actually firing any missiles) to get their way. Taiwan is simply a long-overdue item on their bucket list. I hope I’m wrong, but that certainly looks to be what all of the tea leaves are indicating.