Recent patrols by China’s air force in and around Taiwan appear to be part of a coordinated strike plan across different branches of Chinese military that will encompass the entire area - possibly as preparation for military conflict with the self-ruled island, experts say.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said it spotted two H-6K bombers flying over the Miyako Strait in Japan, and through the Bashi Channel, between Taiwan and the Philippines, en route to the Western Pacific. Both Taiwan and Tokyo said they scrambled aircraft and warships to monitor the activity.
A Pawn in Their Game: US Cozies Up to Taiwan, Angering China
As mainland China launches live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait and state-owned Beijing media outlets warn of protective military measures, Taipei has waved away the threat, suggesting that the large-scale war exercises are “routine.”
After Chinese President Xi Jinping recently presided over the largest military exercise by the country since 1949 — a massive parade of warships in the disputed South China Sea — state-owned Beijing media outlet Xinhua warned Taiwan and its longstanding military ally the US that independence moves by the island nation will not be tolerated.
Following his unlikely ascendancy to the US presidency, Trump opened the recent degradation in Sino-US diplomatic relations by accepting a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, in contravention of some 40 years of diplomatic protocol.
Trump went so far as to suggest that his friendship with Taipei would force China to provide trade concessions with the US, an assertion met with overwhelming derision around the globe. Even shocked Taiwanese officials were quick to downplay the remarks, noting with concern that the small country was at risk of being used like a pawn and then tossed away, cited by the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Taipei is considered by Beijing as a satellite vassal state, although the approximately 36,000-square-mile island country — just 110 miles from the mainland — claims that it is an independent sovereign nation, a view that Washington has tacitly adhered to since Taiwan's formation in 1949.