China on Saturday and yesterday sent a record number of military aircraft into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in what analysts said was an attempt to flex its military might for US President Joe Biden.
Thirteen Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ on Saturday and 15 entered yesterday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said.
On Saturday, eight Xian H-6K bombers, four Shenyang J-16 fighters and a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, entered the ADIZ, while yesterday there were two Y-8s, two Su-30s, four J-16s, six J-10 fighters and a Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft, the ministry said.
The intrusions mark the 19th and 20th days this month that China’s military has sent aircraft into the area, as Beijing continues to intensify its military pressure on Taiwan.
Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a senior analyst at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said the incursion was designed to send a message to the new Biden administration, following his nomination of senior defense, foreign affairs and homeland security officials who have taken a tough stance toward Beijing.
China has continued to beef up its military intimidation toward Taiwan through military deployments since the second half of last year, Su said.
However, unlike last year’s efforts, which featured mostly slow-flying aircraft for defensive purposes, Saturday’s incursion involved a large number of bombers and fast-moving fighters, usually used for offensive purposes, Su said.
The deployment was meant to send a warning to Washington, as a US aircraft carrier group was reportedly operating near the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, he added.
Su said he believes Beijing has made a strategic mistake, as the operation only proves the so-called “China threat theory” that sees China using its burgeoning power to destabilize regional security.
Another institute analyst, Shu Hsiao-huang (舒孝煌), said that China only sends large-scale air deployments to airspace near Taiwan on “special occasions.”
The incursion was Beijing showing its dissatisfaction toward the Biden administration’s decision to invite Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) to attend his inauguration on Wednesday last week, Shu said.
Although this is not the first time a Taiwanese representative to the US has attended a US presidential inauguration, previous attendees gained entry informally, through the courtesy of US legislators, sources familiar with the matter said.
Beijing’s move is aimed at testing the Biden administration’s Asia-Pacific strategy and to counter US military missions in the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines, Shu said.
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