As reported earlier, President Joe Biden is facing increasing tests from China in his first two weeks in office, in the form of aggressive military actions in the South China Sea. This includes a large number of Chinese military aircraft entering Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) three days after his inauguration, a simulated air attack on the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt nearby, and now even more Chinese military aircraft swarming the area.
At one point in the past two days, both U.S. and Chinese military aircraft were in the same area in Taiwan’s ADIZ, noted Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.
One PLA Y-8 ASW and three US aircraft (RECCE*2, TANKER) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on Feb. 1, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/2Ai8isnqrf pic.twitter.com/07VlHnSQPX
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) February 1, 2021
As The Drive reported:
“Airborne alert sorties had been tasked, radio warnings issues, and air defense missile systems deployed to monitor the activity,” Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said in each case. Interestingly, it also said that an unspecified U.S. military ISR aircraft, along with two aerial refueling tankers, had also been operating somewhere within the ADIZ on Feb. 1 and another American ISR aircraft had been inside the zone on Jan. 31, all with the apparent consent of the Taiwanese military. The Jan. 31 notice appears to be the first time ever Taiwanese authorities have specifically noted the presence of American military aircraft inside the ADIZ.
…U.S. and Taiwanese military forces regularly engage with each other, including during training exercises on the island, but do so, generally, in a discreet manner, with few, if any public acknowledgments from either side. There has been a marked shift toward more public discussions about this cooperation in recent years, as former President Donald Trump’s Administration sought to expand the U.S. government’s relationship with authorities in Taipei.
The Drive adds: “This recent flurry of Chinese military aircraft sorties into this particular part of the South China Sea follows a notable uptick in such activity that first became apparent in the latter half of January.” This of course coincided with the days after President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
I have noted numerous times, President Trump had dramatically ramped up public support for our beleaguered Taiwanese ally and had approved a number of very significant arms deals for the Taiwanese military, including offensive missiles for first time in 40 years, and the sale of new F-16C/D Viper jet fighters, which Beijing had previously warned was a “red line” for them.
As such, this increasingly provocative behavior is clearly meant to test the resolve of the new Biden administration over its support for Taiwan, in contrast to Team Trump. It is also meant to show Beijing’s resolve in increasingly challenging the U.S. under the new administration.