A small congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan last week to assess the defense conditions and operations in Asia. It is remarkable however that prior to the departure, the Chinese embassy in Washington DC sent an email demanding the trio be cancelled. Imagine that…our elected officials are supposed to comply to the Chinese Communist Party and their demands?
In part from Axios:
- Six Republican lawmakers who visited Taiwan earlier this month to meet with Tsai and other Taipei officials faced similar calls from Beijing’s embassy in Washington, per Foreign Policy.
- Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the House Veterans’ Affairs chair, and leader of the delegation to Taiwan, praised Taiwan to Tsai as a “democratic success story, a reliable partner and a force for good in the world,” in comments that are sure to further anger Beijing, per Reuters.
“Under [Tsai’s] administration, the bonds between us are more positive and productive than they have been for decades. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and has remained steadfast as the ties between us have deepened. Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner and a force for good in the world.”
— Rep. Takano
The big picture: Takano, Slotkin and Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Colin Allred (D-Texas) and Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) were in Taiwan to discuss matters including regional security, U.S.-Taiwan relations “and other significant issues of mutual interest” with Taipei officials, per a statement from the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy.
- Slotkin tweeted Thursday, “The auto industry’s largest supplier of microchips is here in Taiwan, so supply chain issues will most definitely be on the agenda.”
Meanwhile, as a response to the trip, China decided to once again threaten the region with 27 aircraft invading a ‘buffer zone‘.
Taiwan’s defense ministry says its air forces were mobilized to warn off 27 Chinese warplanes. The incursion into Taiwan’s air defense zone included 18 fighter jets, five nuclear-capable bombers and a refueling aircraft.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said Sunday the island’s air force had scrambled fighter jets to warn off 27 Chinese aircraft that had entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) while missile systems were deployed for monitoring purposes.
Taiwan’s ADIZ is not the same as its territorial air space but instead is self-declared airspace that is monitored for national security purposes.
The latest ratcheting up of tensions comes on the heels of a US Congressional delegation to the island, the second this month in support of Taiwan.
China has vowed to take back Taiwan by force if necessary.
Beijing disapproves of anything that lends international legitimacy and recognition to the government in Taipei and registered its disapproval of American lawmakers visiting the island.
What happened in Taiwan’s ADIZ?
The Chinese air force sent 18 fighter jets, five nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and a Y-20 aerial refueling jet, suggesting China may have refueled mid-flight. The Chinese military is still working on its mid-air refueling capabilities as it seeks to project power around the globe.
In the map provided by the Taiwanese defense ministry, the H-6 bombers and six of the fighter jets flew south of Taiwan into the Bashi Channel separating Taiwan from the Philippines before steering out into the Pacific and returning to China.
Taiwan has complained for months of incursions into its ADIZ by China’s air force, usually in the southwestern part near the Pratas Islands which it controls.
Why are tensions high between Beijing and Taipei now?
On Friday, a spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army said the Chinese military carried out “naval and air force combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait.”