China sent a one-two punch toward Taiwan this week, after a saber-rattling editorial in its state-run newspaper was followed by a massive live-fire drill off the coast of the island.
China claims it is the rightful owner of Taiwan, which became the refuge of the nationalist government of China after the Communist revolution of 1949.
The United States has bent to China’s will by not having formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but it has consistently supported Taiwan with arms sales to ensure the island remains independent.
On Tuesday, China said “warships, anti-submarine aircraft and fighter jets had been dispatched close to Taiwan to carry out ‘joint fire assault and other drills using actual troops,'” according to Reuters.
The People’s Liberation Army issued a statement saying the U.S. and Taiwan had “repeatedly provoked and sent serious wrong signals, severely infringed upon China’s sovereignty, and severely undermined the peace and stability of the Taiwan strait, which has become the biggest source of security risks across the Taiwan strait,” according to The Guardian.
“This exercise … is a solemn response to external interference and provocations by Taiwan independence forces,” the statement said.
Reuters, quoting an unnamed source described as a “senior official familiar with Taiwan’s security planning,” said China carried out a “capturing air supremacy” drill.
“In addition to seeking air supremacy over Taiwan, they have also been conducting frequent electronic reconnaissance and electronic interference operations,” the source told Reuters.
Reuters said that its source believes China’s end game is to “paralyze reinforcing aircraft including F-35s in a war.”
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 11 Chinese aircraft trespassed into Taiwan’s air defense zone in a region between Taiwan and the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea, “including two nuclear-capable H-6K bombers and six J-16 fighters,” Reuters reported.
The drills followed a bit of psychological warfare in which the state-run Global Times saw China use the debacle of Afghanistan as a way to sow doubts about America’s willingness to stand by Taiwan.
As predicted Sunday China is moving fast.
The US-Afghanistan-disaster will have long term consequences, especially for Taiwan ..
China knows the US can’t win an Asian war without going nuclear.. https://t.co/BQX59cFe6J
— Willem Middelkoop (@wmiddelkoop) August 17, 2021
After Biden’s disaster in Afghanistan, God help Taiwan if China invades.
— Cassandra (@CassyWearsHeels) August 17, 2021
“Taiwan is the region that relies on the protection of the US the most in Asia, and the island’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities have made Taiwan go further and further down this abnormal path. The situation in Afghanistan suddenly saw a radical change after the country was abandoned by the US. And Washington just left despite the worsening situation in Kabul. Is this some kind of omen of Taiwan’s future fate?” the editorial said.
The editorial continued Chinese rhetoric that has painted a war to gobble Taiwan as inevitable.
“Once a cross-Straits war breaks out while the mainland seizes the island with forces, the US would have to have a much greater determination than it had for Afghanistan, Syria, and Vietnam if it wants to interfere. A military intervention of the US will be a move to change the status quo in the Taiwan Straits, and this will make Washington pay a huge price rather than earn profit,” the Global Times wrote.
The editorial said Taiwan’s leaders “need to change their course of bonding themselves to the anti-Chinese mainland chariot of the US. They should keep cross-Straits peace with political means, rather than acting as strategic pawns of the US and bear the bitter fruits of a war.”
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