A record number of Chinese military planes, 25 in total, entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on Monday, the Taiwanese government said, the day after a strong American warning to Beijing. The presence of these devices, including 18 fighter planes, some 200 km from the coast, prompted the Taiwanese military forces to take off their own aircraft to order them to leave, the defense ministry said. The Chinese aviation incursion, for the tenth day in a row this month, was the largest in a year, according to authorities in Taipei.
It came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday denounced “increasingly aggressive actions by the Beijing authorities towards Taiwan“, Adding that”it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change the current status quo by force».
An air defense identification zone (“Adiz”, according to its acronym in English) is an airspace in which a State wishes to identify and locate aircraft for reasons of national security. Taiwanese authorities have reported increasing intrusions by Chinese planes into their Adiz – 380 in 2020.
Taiwan has 23 million inhabitants. The island has been ruled since 1945 by a regime (the “Republic of China”) which retreated there after the Communist victory in mainland China in 1949 at the end of the Chinese civil war. The Beijing-based “People’s Republic of China” considers this territory to be one of its provinces. And it threatens to use force in the event of a formal proclamation of independence of the territory.
Since the arrival in power in Taiwan in 2016 of President Tsai Ing-wen, who, unlike the previous government, refuses to recognize that the island and mainland China are part of “one China”, Beijing has exerted economic pressure, growing diplomatic and military over the Taiwanese authorities.
Despite its diplomatic ties with Beijing, Washington remains Taipei’s most important military support. An American law thus obliges the United States to help the island to defend itself in the event of conflict.