China launched its second largest incursion this year into Taiwan’s air defense zone on Monday, with 30 aircraft, according to Taipei, entering the zone, including more than 20 fighters.
The incursions are the largest since January 23, when 39 aircraft entered the Air Defense Identification Area (“Adiz” by its acronym) of the island.
Taiwan’s defense minister announced Monday night that it had taken off its planes and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor Chinese activity.
In recent years, Beijing has launched incursions into Taiwan’s defensive zone to show its discontent and keep pressure on aging Taipei Airlines.
The island lives under constant threat of invasion from China. Beijing considers this area its territory and has promised to take it back by force if necessary.
The United States accused Beijing last week of escalating tensions over Taiwan, with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken explicitly citing the air strikes as an example of “increased rhetoric and activism”.
A few days ago, US President Joe Biden confirmed that Washington was ready to defend Taiwan militarily in case it was attacked by China.
But the White House later insisted that its policy of “strategic ambiguity” about whether or not to intervene had not changed.
Debates are heating up in Washington over whether to adopt “strategic clarity” in the face of Beijing’s increasingly aggressive approach.
Following Republican Lindsey Graham in April, Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth arrived in Taipei on Monday to show her support.
Ms. Duckworth is the main promoter of the Taiwan Partnership Act, which aims to deepen ties between Washington and Taipei in the area of security, a text that has yet to be voted on.
series of accidents
After a meeting with Duckworth on Tuesday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen hinted that some form of rapprochement had already begun.
“The US Department of Defense is now actively planning cooperation between the National Guard and the Taiwan Defense Forces,” Tsai said in a statement.
Taiwanese adez is much larger than its airspace and intersects at certain points with the chinese edes, and even its territory.
An aviation map provided by the Ministry of Defense shows that the planes entered from the southwest corner of Adez before exiting.
Last year, Taiwan recorded a record 969 Chinese military airstrikes, according to the AFP database, more than double the 380 incursions in 2020.
On October 4, 2021 alone, 56 planes entered the Taiwanese city of Addis and 196 for the entire month of October, which begins with the Chinese National Day.
Taiwan has recorded 465 incursions since the beginning of the year, an increase of nearly 50% compared to the same period last year.
These raids put pressure on the Taiwanese airliner, which has suffered a series of fatal accidents in recent years.
A pilot was killed in a plane crash in Kaohsiung in the south, local press reported Tuesday.
Already in January, a pilot died after the sea accident of his F-16V, the most advanced aircraft in the Taiwanese fleet.
In March 2021, Taipei grounded all of its military aircraft, after two fighter jets collided in mid-air (one killed, one missing) – the third fatal accident in less than six months.
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