Last Friday, Taiwan experienced the largest incursion by Chinese military aircraft into its airspace. Six bombers and ten fighter jets may have set a new record but the flights by Chinese military jets have been happening almost daily for the past month. Yesterday, there was another incursion by 10 Chinese aircraft including 8 fighter planes:
10 PLA aircraft (KJ-500 AEW&C, Y-8 ASW, J-16*4 and J-10*4) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on Mar. 29, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/DOWR45v4gP pic.twitter.com/6s1v6RtVeZ
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) March 29, 2021
During this incursion, the Taiwan military issued a standard warning to leave the area immediately. But this time there was a response from one of the Chinese fighter pilot:
According to a recording carried by newspapers in Taipei and acquired by Newsweek, the exchange between pilots from the Republic of China Air Force and PLA Air Force took place at 10:04 a.m. local time after the Chinese warplane flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
Taipei’s interceptor aircraft, which was not identified in local reports, dispatched a standard radio warning to its Chinese counterpart: “This is the Republic of China Air Force. The Chinese military aircraft currently flying at 6,000 meters in Taiwan’s southwestern airspace, you have entered our airspace and are affecting aviation safety. Turn around and leave immediately.”
The reply which came a few seconds later was brief, with the response in Chinese saying: “This is all ours.”
It’s no secret that China is looking to invade Taiwan and do to it what it has already done to Hong Kong. Last week, Admiral John Aquilino, Biden’s pick to lead the America’s Indo-Pacific Command, said China could be in a position to invade “much closer than most think.” Earlier this month Admiral Philip Davidson said he expected it could come “in the next six years.”
What we’re hearing from the fighter pilot is what China has been saying all along, that Taiwan is part of China and that “independence means war.” So far the Biden administration has not been soft-pedaling the threat from China the way it has the threat from Iran. In fact, what may have prompted the show of force Monday was the decision to have an American ambassador join an official visit between the President of Palau and the leader of Taiwan. The Chinese didn’t like that:
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that “the Chinese side resolutely opposes any form of official contacts between US and Taiwanese officials”, adding that any such contact would hurt US-China ties and affect stability in the Taiwan Strait.
The warning came after Palauan President Surangel Whipps arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for a five-day trip to launch a “travel bubble” to ease coronavirus between Taipei and Koror, Palau’s biggest island.
US ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland was part of the delegation, becoming the first US envoy to visit Taiwan since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taipei in 1979…
Observers said Hennessey-Niland’s presence was a strong signal from the US that it would respond to any effort by Beijing to bring Palau into its fold.
We’re pushing back against China’s attempt to control the region by threats and intimidation, which is good and necessary, but this new cold war could drag on for a long time.