Sixteen warplanes on Sunday, 39 on Saturday and 38 fighters and bombers on Friday. Rarely has China allowed so many military aircraft to fly across Taiwan in such a short period of time. “It was an unprecedented weekend in all regions,” says NOS correspondent Sjoerd den Das.
There were also more bombers than usual flying together. It was also surprising that military exercises were now taking place in the evening and even at night. China has never flown such a number of military aircraft near Taiwan in more than a year.
Incidentally, the planes did not enter Taiwan’s airspace. They flew through the so-called Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which is the area within which aircraft must identify themselves. Taiwan also partially overlaps with China’s ADIZ.
one more step
“The events of the past few days are another step forward in Beijing’s strategy of pushing boundaries and then blurring them,” said Tye Dams, who specializes in China’s geopolitics in Clingendale. “Another bold step will be taken in a few months.”
Ultimately, President Xi has one goal: he wants to re-incorporate Taiwan. To this end, China is constantly exploring, for example with military exercises, how far it can go with provocation. Because America is militarily keeping Taiwan’s hand above its head.
“China is becoming more assertive and testing the response of the Americans,” said Rob de Wijk, founder of the think tank The Hague Center for Strategic Studies. Naturally, Washington has condemned the passing of Chinese fighter jets over Taiwan. But in the end the big question is how prepared are the two superpowers, and thus the European countries, to allow the conflict to escalate.
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