China responds to the US move by sending warplanes near Taiwan

After the US rejected Chinese claims over the Taiwan Strait and news of arms sales negotiations with Taipei in Washington, China launched its third-largest warplane sortie toward Taiwan this year.

According to a tweet from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, 29 Chinese aircraft, including six H-6 bombers and an electronic intelligence collection plane, entered Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone on Tuesday.

The newest incursion, according to Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu, demonstrated that China’s military threat was “more real than ever.”

But he continued, “Taiwan would never give in and cede its sovereignty and democracy to the great bully.

The number of airplanes that were deployed was the greatest since May 30, when 30 aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army buzzed the island during a three-day visit to Taiwan by US Senator Tammy Duckworth. Prior to that, on January 23, the day after the US and Japan conducted a joint naval exercise in the Philippine Sea, China performed 39 flights, the most so far this year.

The most recent flights come in the wake of rumors that the Biden administration has opted to reject China’s ambiguous new claim that the Taiwan Strait is not “international waters,” amid worries that the position could lead to more regular challenges at sea for the democratically administered island. The US maintains that “the Taiwan Strait is an international waterway,” as stated by State Department spokesman Ned Price during a news briefing on Tuesday.

He continued, “We’ll continue, as we have said before, to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, and that includes transiting over the Taiwan Strait. We’re disturbed by China’s harsh language, its increased pressure, and its intimidation surrounding Taiwan.

Separately, according to unnamed sources cited by the Taipei-based United Daily News, Taiwan and US officials will meet this week in Washington to discuss military sales in what are known as “monetary discussions.” The article also stated that Wellington Koo, the secretary general of the Taiwan National Security Council, will meet with US defense personnel.

China has increased its diplomatic, military, and economic pressure on Taiwan’s government, which maintains that the island is a de facto autonomous entity that is waiting for wider international recognition rather than being a part of China as Beijing claims.

Last week, two prominent US senators serving on the Foreign Relations Committee attempted to change Washington’s approach to Taiwan. They claimed they wanted to thwart any potential Chinese invasion of the island after seeing Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Taiwan would receive $4.5 billion in defense aid during the following four years under the “Taiwan Policy Act of 2022.” A “wide sanctions framework” would be established to punish China for any hostile action against Taiwan, including activities in the Taiwan Strait, and Taiwan would also be designated as a significant non-NATO ally.