The tension between Taiwan and China has escalated as China dispatched warships and dozens of fighter jets towards Taiwan on Saturday. This was in retaliation for a meeting between Taiwan President Tsai Ing Wen and the speaker of the US House of Representatives. Taiwan’s administration claimed that eight warships and 42 aircraft were spotted in the area on Saturday, 29 of which crossed the strait dividing the island from the mainland. The aircraft included Chengdu J-10, Shenyang J-11, and Shenyang J-16 jet fighters.
The Chinese military issued a warning to Taiwanese who wish to formally declare their island’s de facto independence by beginning three-day “combat readiness patrols.” The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) made no mention of whether they might mimic earlier missile exercises that were launched into the ocean and hindered air travel. The Chinese army’s Eastern Theater Command stated that this was a necessary action to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, Taiwan refutes China’s claim that it is its own territory.
The tension between China and Taiwan has existed since 1949, when Taiwan and China separated following a civil war. The ruling Communist Party believes that the island must reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary. China’s response to President Tsai’s meeting with Speaker Kevin McCarthy was the imposition of financial sanctions and a travel restriction against American organizations and anyone connected to Tsai’s US visit.
China’s recent move to dispatch warships and fighter jets towards Taiwan marks a significant escalation in the already tense relationship between the two countries. The fact that 71 Chinese planes and nine ships crossed the Taiwan Strait’s median line is particularly alarming. This is an unofficial barrier between the two sides and serves as a red line that both sides have agreed not to cross. China’s warning to Taiwan is clear, as the PLA statement stated, “This is a serious warning against the collusion and provocation between the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and external forces.”
The situation between China and Taiwan is concerning for the international community as any escalation in this conflict could have global repercussions. It is important for both sides to maintain open communication channels to avoid any misunderstandings that could lead to a military conflict. The US and other international partners should urge China and Taiwan to resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue and negotiation. The international community should not take sides in this conflict but instead work towards finding a peaceful resolution that is in the best interests of both countries and the world.