Chinese air incursion in Taiwan prompts reaction from US

U.S. Navy photo

Fifteen Chinese military aircraft, including twelve fighter jets and three bombers, entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on January 24, 2021. The incursion prompted Biden’s administration to renew the support of the United States vis-a-vis Taiwan’s sovereignty.

The incident, reported by the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense, is the latest in a long series. In fact, it was the second in two days, as on January 23, 2021, another flight group composed of eight strategic bombers with an escort of five fighters carried out a similar maneuver. 

The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense reported that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) flew about 380 sorties into the country’s ADIZ in 2020, the highest since 1996. The Institute for National Defense and Security Research, responsible for compiling the data on behalf of Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, said the surge of activity was a reaction to the warming of the relationship between the island country and the United States. 

Throughout Donald Trump’s term, over ten arms sales were concluded between the two nations. And the stance of the United States should remain the same under the presidency of Joe Biden. “We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability,” said the newly-appointed U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price in a statement. “Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.”

Coincidentally, an aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt entered the South China Sea region on January 24, 2021. Escorted by one guided-missile cruiser and two guided-missile destroyers, the aircraft carrier embarks the F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets of Carrier Air Wing Eleven. The goal of this scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet is to promote “freedom of the seas, and reassuring allies and partners,” said Doug Verissimo, commander of the strike group. “With two-thirds of the world’s trade traveling through this very important region, it is vital that we maintain our presence and continue to promote the rules-based order which has allowed us all to prosper.”

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