War Looming With China Over Taiwan? 30 Chinese Flyovers In A Single Day And 1 US Military Move Are Troubling Signs
With the growing presence of an audience of American troops acting as advisers to Taiwan’s military, China staged a massive show of force in the skies above the island on Thursday.
More than 30 Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on Thursday, one day after a joint U.S., Japanese, and Philippine exercise in the South China Sea.
“Some continued … toward the western Pacific for long-range reconnaissance training,” Sun said.
The Taipei Times reported that the Chinese aircraft included J-11 and J-16 fighters, Xian H-6 bombers as well as support aircraft.
China, which says that Taiwan should rightfully be a part of China instead of an independent nation, blamed the United States for the need to stage the drill.
“The recent patrols and exercise served as deterrence against the rising tensions following US provocations in the region,” China’s state-run Global Times wrote.
The Global Times noted that the massive exercise around Taiwan followed two days in which Russian aircraft partnered with China in maneuvers across the western Pacific, reaching as far as the vicinity of Guam.
The increasingly aggressive tone of Chinese exercises around Taiwan comes as the United States has quietly increased its military footprint in Taiwan.
In February, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said American and Taiwan military forces will cooperate “even more closely” and plan to “bolster military exchanges.”
At the time, CNN reported that between 20 and 40 American Marines were routinely based on the island, largely for security operations around America’s unofficial diplomatic outpost.
The report said the American trainers were stationed at training centers to “propose improvements to their Taiwanese counterparts.”
That report said about 80 percent of the 200 troops were from the Army, with the balance from the Navy and Air Force.
U.S. officials have been tight-lipped about the trainers.
“We don’t have a comment on specific operations, engagements, or training,” Army Lt. Col. Marty Meiners, a Department of Defense spokesman, said, according to Stars and Stripes.
“I would highlight that our support for, and defense relationship with, Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” he said.
“The thing we see across all the wargames is that there are major losses on all sides. And the impact of that on our society is quite devastating,” Becca Wasser, head of the gaming lab at the Center for a New American Security, said.
“The most common thread in these exercises is that the United States needs to take steps now in the Indo-Pacific to ensure the conflict doesn’t happen in the future. We are hugely behind the curve. Ukraine is our wake-up call. This is our watershed moment,” she said.
“We’re in a window of maximum danger,” Christian Brose, a former senior aide to the late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said.
“If you knew that we had to defend Taiwan in three years, then we’re already two years too late,” Heather Penney, a former Air National Guard pilot and senior fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, said. “It takes two years to budget for these platforms, a year to set up supply, a third year to put all that together, and it takes roughly five years to produce an experienced combat pilot.”