In one radio broadcast posted online by aviation fans, a Chinese pilot could be heard insulting the mother of a Taiwan ese combat air traffic controller.
Chinese fighter jets crowding Taiwan 's radar screens are Beijing 's latest tool to ramp up pressure on the democratic island, sparking fears that one mistake could suddenly turn a festering cold conflict into an all-out war.
Its 23 million people have since learned to cope with periods of sabre-rattling from Beijing.But the sudden spike in Chinese war planes crossing into the island's air defence identification zone (ADIZ) has focused attention on Taiwan, fuelling concerns it could become a global flashpoint.
AFP has compiled a database that documents all the known incursions since Taiwan's defence ministry began making them public in September 2020, showing how sorties have crescendoed in frequency and size.The most dramatic incursion occurred at the start of this month as China marked its annual national day when a record 149 flights crossed into Taiwan's southwestern air defence zone in four days.
Adding aggressiveness to the incursions, some of them even got personal.In one radio broadcast posted online by aviation fans, a Chinese pilot could be heard insulting the mother of a Taiwanese combat air traffic controller.- 'Psychological pressure' - headtopics.com
Those four days alone saw a 28 percent increase on the total for September which was, until then, the month with the highest number of flights at 117.Last year, Taiwan said it recorded some 380 incursions into its southwestern air defence zone. So far this year the total is already double that at 692, as of October 22.
There has also been a steady increase in sorties using the kind of planes that would be used to strike Taiwan were an invasion to take place, including the nuclear-capable H6 bomber.In September 2020, the month that year with the highest number of sorties, Taiwan recorded incursions by 32 fighters and three bombers.
Story continuesSo far this month, there have been 124 fighter jet incursions and 16 by bombers.Still, analysts say the threat posed by these incursions should not be exaggerated.The ADIZ is not the same as Taiwan's territorial airspace.Instead it includes a larger area that overlaps with part of China's own air defence identification zone -- and even covers some of the mainland.
Nonetheless, it bears noting that until last year China very rarely crossed into the southwestern sector at all."These are part of what we call 'greyzone' tactics, it keeps psychological pressure on Taiwan," Lee Hsi-min, a retired admiral who stepped down as head of Taiwan's armed forces in 2019, told AFP. headtopics.com
Greyzone is a term used by military analysts to describe aggressive actions by a state that stop short of open warfare -- what British defence secretary Ben Wallace has described as "the limbo land between peace and war".Taiwan has seen a surge in these kinds of threats since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, whom China's leaders loathe because she views the island as sovereign and not part of Beijing's "one China".
Lee cited greyzone measures such as ramped up cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns to a massive increase in Chinese dredgers taking sand from waters surrounding Kinmen and Matsu, two Taiwanese islands just a few kilometres from the mainland.The ADIZ incursions, he added, allowed China to "improve pilot training", including the occasional night-time sorties, as well as test Taiwan's own defences.
They also keep Taiwan's already ageing fleet of fighters under stress. There have been multiple fatal crashes blamed on mechanical failures.- 'Perfect storm' -China, which has vowed to one day seize Taiwan, says little about its ADIZ incursions.
But analysts say they send a message to three targets: Taiwan's government and people, China's increasingly nationalist domestic audience, and western powers.This month's record incursions came after naval exercises in the Pacific attended by multiple navies, including two US and one British aircraft carriers and a Japanese helicopter destroyer. headtopics.com
It also came after Washington's recent deal to share nuclear submarine technology with Australia and confirmation that US special forces were training Taiwanese troops."Beijing wants to demonstrate that it will not be intimidated by regional security alliances in the making, which undoubtedly are aimed at China," J Michael Cole, an expert with the Washington-based Global Taiwan Institute.
"(It) also demonstrates to a domestic audience that it is not complacent about developments that favour Taiwan," he told AFP.The United States has long maintained a policy of "strategic ambiguity" towards Taiwan, selling it arms without explicitly promising to come to the island's help.
But President Joe Biden has now twice stated that US forces would defend Taiwan's people if China made a move on them.While the ADIZ incursions remain far out to sea, many fear the rise in sorties increases the risk of a crash, collision or mistake that could spark a wider war.
President Xi Jinping, China's most authoritarian leader since Mao Zedong, has made seizing Taiwan a key pledge as he engineers a third term push next year.China's increased forcefulness has prompted US and Taiwanese officials to publicly warn that Beijing could be ready to invade in just a few years.
Jia Qingguo, an international relations expert at Peking University who advises the Chinese government, published a stark paper earlier this summer in which he warned a "perfect storm" was brewing in the Taiwan Strait.Beijing's more aggressive treatment of Taiwan in recent years was "shaped by its growing military capabilities and increasing domestic demands for unification," he argued.
China also feels pressured to act now against the growing relationship between Taiwan and the United States, where defending Taipei has become a rare bipartisan issue."The three sides have seen their interactions caught in a vicious spiral, making a military confrontation and even an all-out war an increasingly likely scenario," Jia warned.
Su Tzu-yun, a military expert at Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said Taipei "should be more vigilant but it needn't be over-worried".An amphibious landing across the Taiwan Strait, he told AFP, still remains "the most complex military operation and if any part of the process is undermined, the operation would fail".
"(China) could start a war but whether it could win it is a different thing," he added. Read more: Yahoo Singapore »
Malaysia’s appeal court upholds Najib’s 1MDB-linked conviction, calls his actions a 'national embarrassment'
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia\u0027s Court of Appeal has upheld former prime minister Najib Razak\u0027s guilty verdict in a corruption trial involving RM42 million (US$9.9 million) of 1Malaysia Development Berhad-linked funds. Justice Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who headed a three-member panel, delivered the judgment on Wednesd
Taiwan delegation irks China with eastern Europe tourPRAGUE: A Taiwan ese government delegation is visiting three eastern EU members to the dismay of China , which is irritated by any signs of Taiwan acting as an independent country. The 66 government officials will hold talks in Slovakia on Friday (Oct 22) before travelling to the Czech Republic and Lithuania Taiwan go go go. Who are these to say who you can befriend.
Biden says US would defend Taiwan against China invasionThe United States would defend Taiwan if the island were attacked by China , President Joe Biden said Thursday, a declaration welcomed by the democratic island that risks fury from Beijing .
Biden says 'yes' US would defend Taiwan against ChinaBALTIMORE — US President Joe Biden on Thursday (Oct 21) said the United States would defend Taiwan if the island were attacked by China , which considers it part of its territory.
China warns Slovaks, Czechs of retaliation for Taiwan minister visit Beijing warned Slovakia and the Czech Republic on Friday that nobody should harbour any illusions about the 'necessary measures' China will take to defend its sovereignty, ahead of a visit to both countries next week by Taiwan's foreign minister. China , which claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, is always angered by visits of senior Taiwanese officials to other countries, viewing it as covert support for the island's claims to be a state. Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu will be visiting Slovakia and the Czech Republic next week https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/taiwan-foreign-minister-adds-slovakia-rare-europe-trip-2021-10-21, first attending a forum in Slovakia organised by a local think tank, and then going to Prague to meet the Czech parliament upper house speaker, Milos Vystrcil, and Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib.
Taiwan central bank says watching inflation, will take steps if neededTAIPEI : Taiwan 's central bank said on Friday it is watching inflation and there is no cause for alarm, but added it will adopt 'appropriate' monetary policies if needed.In a Facebook post, the central bank said that major institutions predict Taiwan 's consumer price index, or CPI, will not exceed 2per ce
The White House had to row back Biden's comments after he suggested the US would defend Taiwan from an attack by ChinaFears that China will try to seize Taiwan , which it considers its territory, have grown. Biden told a town hall the US would defend the island.