China has carried out one of its “largest” military incursions around Taiwan in the last twenty-four hours. The island has detected the presence of 34 fighter planes and nine Chinese naval vessels.
According to findings by the Ministry of National Defense of Taipei, twenty of the 34 aircraft fighters have crossed the midline in the Taiwan Straitwhich has long constituted an unofficial buffer zone between the two sides, which split in the civil war in 1949, and which Beijing claims it does not recognize as valid, and have entered the defense airspace of the island on the southwestern side.
Taiwan has scrambled fighter jets, alerted its Navy and activated missile systems in response to the operations, all part of Beijing’s strategy to intimidate the island.
The Chinese incursion comes after the controversy for the contacts between the president of Taiwan, Tsai ing-wen, and the president-elect of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavelwho had a telephone conversation, greatly irritating Beijing.
China has protested against the Czech Republic, which diplomatically recognizes the People’s Republic of China, and condemned the gesture, calling it a “blatant violation” of Prague to the principle of one China, which Beijing interprets as a right to sovereignty over Taiwan. According to the Chinese authorities, a “wrong signal has been given to the pro-independence forces” of the island, as China defines the current ruling class led by Tsai.
China’s large-scale deployment comes while Beijing increases pressure on Taiwan.
China claims Taiwan as an “inalienable” part of its territory to be reunified even by force if necessary. It has sent warships, bombers, fighters and support aircraft into the airspace near Taiwan on an almost daily basis, straining the island’s limited defense resources and attempting to reduce popular support for ruling President Tsai Ing-wen since 2016.
Beijing has repeatedly threatened retaliation against countries seeking closer ties with Taiwan.
Taipei has responded to Chinese threats by buying from the US and leveraging the high-tech economy to strengthen foreign relations, as well as revitalizing the national defense industry. Compulsory military service for men has been extended from four months to a year and polls show high levels of popular support for increased defense spending against Chinese pressure.
The general mobilization has been strengthened after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, seen as a possible example of a Chinese invasion of the island.