Chinese fighter jets briefly entered Taiwan’s airspace on Tuesday, forcing the island to scramble its own, Taipei said shortly after announcing plans for its largest annual live-fire military drill. China invades Taiwanese airspace at a time when the relations between the two have been especially turbulent, in the wake of the reelection of Tsai Ing Wen (who is staunchly anti-China) and Taiwan’s condemnation of Hong Kong’s security law and subsequent advice to Beijing to acknowledge the Tiananmen Massacre.
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The Taiwanese defence ministry said it broadcast warnings and “took active responses to dispel” multiple Chinese Su-30 fighters to the southwest of the island. The ministry also said that the invading aeroplanes were successfully thwarted from further incursions into Taiwanese airspace.
China invades Taiwanese airspace from the southwest
The Su-30 fighters, some of China’s most advanced jets, entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone to its southwest on Tuesday, according to a statement. The fighters were given verbal warnings to leave, after which Taiwanese air force jets drove them away, the ministry added.
“The military is fully monitoring sea and air conditions around the Taiwan Strait and takes active responsive measures to defend our territorial safety,” it said in a statement.
The incursion came as the ministry announced that the “Han Kuang” live-fire drill would be held next month, including computer simulations and an exercise to defend against forces landing on the island.
China has ramped up fighter flights and warship crossings near Taiwan or through the Taiwan Strait since President Tsai Ing-wen was first elected in 2016, as she has refused to acknowledge that the island is part of “one China”.
Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.
Taiwanese President lashes out as Chinese invade Taiwanese airspace
Tsai lashed out at Beijing for “meaningless and unnecessary” military moves after a Chinese military jet in February briefly crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait separating the two sides.
Taiwan has complained that China, which claims the democratic island as its own, has stepped up military activities in recent months, menacing Taiwan even as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic.
China says such exercises are nothing unusual.
China has ramped up fighter flights and warship crossings near Taiwan or through the Taiwan Strait since President Tsai Ing-wen was first elected in 2016, as she has refused to acknowledge that the island is part of "one China". https://t.co/ZysiYl9CzY
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China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control. One of China’s most senior generals last month said China would attack if there was no other way of stopping Taiwan becoming independent.
It was the first major incursion since Tsai’s landslide re-election in January.
Beijing also sent its new aircraft carrier, the Shandong, through the strait in December, shortly before Taiwan’s presidential election.
In March last year, two Chinese J-11 fighter jets crossed over the line for the first time in years, prompting Taipei to accuse Beijing of violating a long-held tacit agreement in a “reckless and provocative” move.
China-Taiwan divide: a historical perspective
Taiwan, which is also officially known as the Republic of China, was created when the Communist Troops of Mao Zedong beat back the troops of hitherto Chinese leader Chaing Kai-shek from the Chinese mainland. Kai-shek and his troops later fled to the island of Taiwan and established rule over there. Their rule was initially a mirror image of the rule of the Communist Party in China.
Later, Kai-shek’s son, Ching-kuo, democratised the country upon pressure from the citizenry after inheriting the leadership upon the death of his father. Till date, Taiwan is a democracy.
Cross-Strait relations now
Also known as cross-strait relations, these had their watershed moment during 2008 – 2016 when both parties resumed high level contacts. However, the election of Tsa Ing-Wen to the Presidency in 2016 greatly soured relations.
She is an unfettered critic of China and advocates independence from the mainland. She has driven public opinion against China in the 4 years she has been in power.
China claims Taiwan as part of the One China vision, and has repeatedly asked Taiwanese governments to join China under the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement such as that in Macau and Hong Kong.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk