For the first time in over 10 years, jets from mainland China crossed the “median line” of the Taiwan Strait, in what the Taiwanese call a reckless and provocative act that will only result in a misunderstanding or worse. China uses threats all the time – they did this year.
In January, Chinese leader-for-life, Xi Jinping said the Beijing will use force if necessary to Taiwan under control. There is no doubt that a conflict is not going to take place but the issue here is the the Taiwanese will be able to defend itself – according to experts – for at least 3 weeks until US forces are called in to support. Such a war will be exactly what China does not want, a conflict that nobody wants.
Although the US does not have official ties to Taiwan, it has a legal obligation to support the island state and has, since 2010, sold Taiwan north of $15 billion in arms. There is no question that Taiwan is armed to the teeth and could inflict heavy causalities in an invading force.
The Defense Ministry of Taiwan scrambled jets to mirror the two fighters that entered its airspace, and they were quickly turned away. The US Defense Intelligence agency has said that mainland China, Beijing, continues to increase its offensive military capabilities and that its provocation is a concern.
The US, last week, sent ships through the strait and has sent bombers above the area to make a clear statement to China.
This is now the most contested area on the planet and China is now expanding its influence into the South China Sea and the sea lanes in the area the is the passageway for 5 trillion dollars of shipping – commodities, food, energy as well as finished goods – each year. China, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines all patrol these lanes.