Military and Defense

China’s Military Has Violated Taiwan Airspace 3 Times More Under Biden Than Trump

  • The Chinese military has violated Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over 1,400 times since Joe Biden took office, according to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.
  • China has “imperial” ambitions and is carefully watching how the “international community” handles Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Steve Yates, senior fellow and chair of the China Policy Initiative, told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday.
  • China claims “sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait,” Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign minister, said during a June 13 press conference. 

The Chinese military has violated Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) three times more under President Joe Biden than during the entirety of Donald Trump’s presidency, according to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.

As of June 20, the air force of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has flown at least 1,439 sorties into Taiwan’s ADIZ since Biden took office, greatly exceeding the estimated 436 violations Taiwan endured throughout Trump’s four years as president, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, estimates from Mercedes Trent, a research associate with the Defense Posture Project, and a database compiled by Gerald C. Brown, a defense analyst and contributor at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Since 2020, China’s violations of Taiwan’s ADIZ have skyrocketed and now occur on an almost daily basis.

In 2018, the Chinese military reportedly made no incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ, according to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense. However, in 2019, China reportedly began to send sorties into Taiwan’s ADIZ, sending between 11 and 20 sorties that year.

Thereafter, the frequency of China’s violations has escalated, with Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense reporting between 381 and 390 sorties in 2020 and 972 sorties in 2021. China has already sent an estimated 123 warplanes into Taiwan’s ADIZ this year compared to 112 sorties by June 2021.

Steve Yates, senior fellow and chair of the China Policy Initiative, told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday that China has imperial ambitions and will annex Taiwan if the U.S. and its allies fail to act.

“By sea and by air, Beijing seeks to impose imperial control over Asian commerce and security in ways that have only existed in the imaginations of simplistic Western observers and Chinese Communist propagandists,” Yates said. “If China meets with minimal resistance and pays no price for recent escalation, then the ‘international community’ risks green-lighting more consequential attacks, in the same way that tough rhetoric and diplomatic appeals signaled to Russia that conditions were favorable to move into Ukraine, but the economic and security consequences at stake in Asia are greater than those unleashed by Russia in Europe,” said Yates.

On Sunday, the PLA reportedly sent 10 warplanes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense reported. The incursion featured a mix of Chinese fighter jets, a surveillance plane and an H-6 bomber, which broke off from the other warplanes and circled around Taiwan’s southern tip before turning back.

China’s latest incursions come as Beijing has ramped up efforts to claim that the Taiwan Strait is not an international waterway, but rather belongs to China. Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, recently made this claim during a press conference on June 13.

“There is no legal basis of ‘international waters’ in the international law of the sea,” Wang said. “It is a false claim when certain countries call the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters’ in order to find a pretext for manipulating issues related to Taiwan and threatening China’s sovereignty and security.”

China has “sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait” Wang told reporters during the press conference, citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

A Department of Defense spokesman referred TheDCNF to a U.S. government statement regarding China’s territorial claims.

“The Taiwan Strait is an international waterway, meaning that the Taiwan Strait is an area where high seas freedoms, including freedom of navigation and overflight, are guaranteed under international law,” the statement reads. “We are concerned by China’s aggressive rhetoric and coercive activity regarding Taiwan. The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, and that includes transiting through the Taiwan Strait.”

The Chinese Embassy and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office did not respond immediately to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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