Beijing is trying to wear down the local military and testing their response
On Tuesday, a total of 29 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan's self-proclaimed air defense identification zone (ADZ). This one of the largest missions in recent months was staged against the background of a sharp escalation of the situation in the region, fueling fears of military action.
The Taiwanese defense ministry said that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force aircraft that flew into the island's air defense identification zone are a mixture of fighters, early warning and control aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft, anti-submarine aircraft, electronic reconnaissance aircraft and tanker aircraft.
This was the third-highest number of Chinese aircraft to fly into Taiwanese air defenses in a day since the start of the year, according to CNN, less than a month after China sent 30 warplanes on a similar mission. The largest to date this year occurred on 23 January with 39 aircraft.
The latest Chinese mission on Tuesday included 17 fighter jets and six H-6 bombers, among other aircraft, according to Taiwan's Defense Ministry.
In response, the Taiwanese military scrambled combat aircraft to warn Chinese aircraft by issuing radio warnings and deployed anti-aircraft missile systems to monitor activities, the Taipei Defense Ministry added.
Not a single shot was fired, and the Chinese planes were flying not in Taiwanese airspace, but in Taiwan's air defenses, a wider area that Taiwan controls and patrols, giving it more time to respond to any threats.
According to The Guardian, Taiwan is calling the Chinese military's repeated actions near the island a “grey zone war,” designed both to wear down Taiwanese forces by constantly twitching and to test Taiwan's reaction.
Immediate Comments from China, which in the past claimed that such actions were exercises aimed at protecting the sovereignty of the country.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) considers Taiwan to be part of its territory, despite the fact that the PRC has never controlled it. Beijing does not exclude the use of military force to seize Taiwan and has continued to exert pressure on the island over the past few years, often flying military aircraft into the island's air defense zone.
An air defense identification zone is established unilaterally and is distinct from sovereign airspace, which is defined under international law as extending 12 nautical miles from a territory's coastline.
The US Federal Aviation Administration defines it as a “designated airspace space over land or water, within which the country requires the immediate and accurate identification, positioning and air traffic control of aircraft in the interests of the country's national security.
A US State Department spokesman told Reuters that Beijing should “stop military, diplomatic and economic pressure and intimidation on Taiwan.”
The Taiwan issue has become the focus of US-China relations in recent months. Tensions over Taiwan between Washington, which seeks to maintain the island's self-defense, and Beijing dominated media news in early July, when Chinese and US defense ministers met at the Shangri-La Dialogue defense conference in Singapore.
In a keynote speech in Singapore, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe accused the United States of being the “hooligans” in the region and vowed that the PLA would “fight to the very end” to stop Taiwan's declaration of independence.
After the Shangri-La Dialogue conference, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed previous claims that the Taiwan Strait “is not international waters.”
“The waters of the Taiwan Strait extend from the shores on both sides of the strait to the center line of the strait and are China's internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone, in that order,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said. at a briefing on June 13 with reference to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and China's domestic law.
Reaffirming Beijing's position on Wednesday, an editorial in China's state-run tabloid Global Times claimed that the entire Taiwan Strait — the 180-kilometer-wide body of water between Taiwan and mainland China — is not international waters but is entirely under Beijing's jurisdiction.
Actions U.S. and foreign warships that regularly pass through the strait constitute a provocation that violates China's sovereignty and is not an peaceful passage recognized by international law, writes the Global Times.
The US Navy sees things differently , regularly sending warships across the Taiwan Strait, including on May 10 when the missile cruiser USS Port Royal transited.
As with airspace, international law stipulates that a country's territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from its coastline.
Meanwhile, as The Guardian recalls, China launched its third The aircraft carrier Fujian, named after the province opposite Taiwan.
Last month, the Chinese military said it was conducting drills around Taiwan as a “solemn warning” against Taipei's “collusion” with the United States.
This comes after US President Joe Biden angered China with what seemed to signal a change in US policy of “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan, saying the United States would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan. island.
China has stepped up pressure on Taiwan to accept its claim to sovereignty. The Taipei government says it wants peace but will defend itself if attacked.