Rise in Chinese manoeuvres into Taiwan airspace

20 manoeuvres in January, in addition to naval ones. Attack jets and bombers also used.  Washington protests. Experts: message from Beijing to the Biden administration. Xi Jinping does not rule out the use of force for reunification.


Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 15 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone yesterday. It was the second consecutive day that Beijing's aircraft, including attack jets and bombers, have carried out such large-scale operations near the island: on 23 January, Taiwanese authorities identified 13.

On both occasions, the Taiwanese armed forces scrambled their planes to tail the Chinese ones, which however did not cross the midline dividing the Taiwan Strait. Yesterday was Beijing's 20th air raid in the area: The Asian giant has intensified military pressure on Taiwan - including with naval activities - since last September.

According to most observers, with these raids the Chinese government wants to signal its disapproval to the Biden administration, which is seemingly unwilling to abandon the harsh line of confrontation with China inaugurated by Donald Trump.

It was also Beijing’s response to the deployment of ​​the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt yesterday in the South China Sea. In a note published on January 23, the US government urged the Chinese to stop intimidating Taiwan and to engage in dialogue with Taiwanese rulers.

Beijing has always opposed Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, accused of pursuing an independence agenda. The Chinese regime considers Taiwan a rebel province, and has never ruled out reconquering it by the use of force. The island has been independent of China since 1949; at the time, Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists found refuge there after losing the civil war on the mainland against the Communists, making it the heir to the Republic of China founded in 1912.

In a speech delivered on January 2, 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the people of Taiwan to accept the fact that the island "must and will be" reunified with China. The Chinese leader called for peaceful reunification on the basis of the "one country, two systems" principle, but warned that Beijing reserves the use of force to achieve this.

Last week, Wang Yang reiterated the same concept. A member of the Politburo Standing Committee, Wang explained that China will use its political and economic strength to contain Taiwan's pro-independence forces. He stressed that this is a prime objective for the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party, which takes place this year.

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