As predicted by many after President Joe Biden revealed his inept handling of the Afghanistan U.S. troop withdrawal, it appears as if America’s top adversaries have gained confidence in making bold moves they might not have under a stronger U.S. president.
According to Fox News, that was evidenced recently after it was reported that the Chinese air force dispatched an increased number of planes to Taiwan’s air defense zone, marking its largest-ever incursion.
After several waves of Chinese aircraft flying into Taiwan’s air defense zone, the total number of Chinese planes in the area numbers around 80.
While China’s dispatching of aircraft into the zone has been nearly a daily occurrence for quite some time, the latest maneuvers have drawn international attention given the sheer number of craft China has sent over in recent days.
Taiwan not happy
Unsurprisingly, Taiwanese officials reacted negatively to the Chinese incursion, which came a day after the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949.
“China has been wantonly engaged in military aggression, damaging regional peace,” said Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang.
The Chinese air force maneuvers didn’t cause Taiwan’s air force to scramble jets of their own, but the Taiwan military tracked all of the Chinese planes closely as they violated Taiwanese air space, as the island’s Defense Ministry reported.
The aggressive move also came in the wake of Taiwan’s announcement that it seeks to become a member of a Pacific trade group that China also happens to be interested in joining.
According to ABC News, Bejing directly opposes Taiwan’s joining of such groups, likely due to the fact that China still believes it owns Taiwan, even though the countries split in 1949 after a civil war.
Not the first time
While China regularly sends aircraft over Taiwan’s air space, the communist nation has historically ramped up the volume of planes during important events, such as last year when a top U.S. diplomat visited Taiwan. China, at the time, dispatched 18 planes to fly over presumably as a show of force.
Earlier this year, in June, China dispatched 28 planes into Taiwan air space after leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations called for “a peaceful resolution of cross-Taiwan Strait issues,” the Associated Press noted.
Though it remains officially unclear if the United States would intervene in the event that China attacks Taiwan, President Joe Biden suggested that would be the case earlier this year, which led to an angry reaction from Chinese officials. According to CNBC, the United States’ stance on such a hypothetical situation has been described as “strategic ambiguity.”