China carried out this Friday (26) the largest raid with military planes against the territory of Taiwan, the autonomous island that Beijing considers a rebel province.
Twenty planes were dispatched to the southwestern sector of the island’s so-called Adiz (acronym for Air Defense Identification Zone), which begins halfway between the two countries, over the Taiwan Strait.
Among them, 4 bombers of nuclear capacity H-6K and 10 heavy fighters J-16. Previously, the biggest action of its kind took place in September of last year, with 18 planes.
The Taiwanese had suspended defense flights this week due to a shock that brought down two F-5E fighters. As a result, planes were urgently dispatched to ward off the Chinese fleet, and anti-aircraft missile batteries put opposing planes in the crosshairs.
Details were given by Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, while Chinese officials have not commented, as usual.
This type of incursion aims to test the reactive capacity of rivals and occurs almost daily in different theaters of operations around the world – notably in the Pacific and the Baltic and Black Seas.
But the size of the Chinese stock appears to be linked to another fact: On Friday morning, Taiwan and the United States signed the first cooperation agreement since Joe Biden took office in January.
Under the agreement, a joint task force was established to coordinate the work of the Taiwanese Coast Guard. The arrangement came after China passed a law under which its coastal force is allowed to fire at any foreign vessel it deems suspicious.
According to Taipei, some of the planes flew to the Bashi Channel, which separates the island from the Philippines, where the Chinese navy is conducting an airborne interdiction exercise against opposing ships.
The tension between China and Taiwan is nothing recent, it comes from the victory of the Communists in the revolution which founded the modern dictatorship of the continent, in 1949. Some of the defeated took refuge on the island, which had authoritarian governments for decades, but today it is a democracy.
Today, it is a central point of the hegemonic dispute between Washington and Beijing.
Almost no country recognizes Taiwan as independent so as not to offend China, which it considers its territory. The United States maintains a heterodox arrangement: since the recognition of Beijing in 1979, it has theoretically supported Chinese demand.
But in practice and by law, they are committed to defending Taiwan in the event of an invasion, and are the island government’s main suppliers of military equipment.
In Donaldo Trump’s years in power, between 2017 and 2021, the political relationship grew closer. In addition to the usual arms sales, Washington has now dispatched senior officials to visit Taipei, which has drawn strong reactions from Beijing – including the September 2020 incursion.
Biden, since coming to power, has championed Trump’s Cold War 2.0 principles with China. The Americans and the Chinese even held a diplomatic summit last week, but the tone was harsh and not very constructive.
One of the things that China considers non-negotiable is its territorial integrity, and this includes both the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong, which has been severely repressed by its pro-democracy movements, and Taiwan. .
The Chinese armed forces said earlier this year that a declaration of independence for the island would spawn war. Military analysts doubt the feasibility of an amphibious operation to take Taiwan, given the degree of defense of the island and especially the risk of seeing the United States involved.
But the danger of some bare wires causing a short circuit remains high, as evidenced by the actions this Friday.