As Joe Biden enters the White House as the 46th U.S. president, Communist China has intensified military tensions with Taiwan, carrying out a large scale incursion into the country’s airspace.

China’s unprovoked aggression against Taiwan, a trusted U.S. ally, is surprising in the light of President Xi Jinping’s promise of a “win-win cooperation” with the incoming Biden administration. Since November, China and Biden’s team have been in ‘backchannel’ talks towards a ‘reset’ in U.S.-China relations after four years of Donald Trump’s presidency, Chinese media reports say.

Several Chinese nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets violated Taiwan’s airspace over the weekend. On Saturday, Beijing sent “eight bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons and four fighter jets,” into Taiwan, The Associated Press reported. On Sunday, “another 16 military aircraft of various types” carried out the aerial breach, the AP added.

The news agency Reuters, on Sunday, reported the major Chinese incursion:

Chinese air force planes including 12 fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone for a second day on Sunday, Taiwan said, as tensions rise near the island just days into U.S. President Joe Biden’s new administration.

China views democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has in the past few months increased military activity near the island.

But China’s activities over the weekend mark a ratcheting up with fighters and bombers being dispatched rather than reconnaissance aircraft as had generally been the case in recent weeks.

After eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets flew into Taiwan’s defence zone on Saturday, between mainland Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea, a further 15 flew into the same air space on Sunday, Taiwan said.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said China sent six J-10 fighters, four J-16s, two SU-30s, a Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft and two Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft.

In recent months, Communist China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan, an independent country which Beijing considers a breakaway province.

The Taiwan incursion comes as Beijing authorized its coastguards to fire on foreign ships detected in “disputed waters.” Chinese Communist Party delegates passed a new law that allows the country’s “coastguards to launch pre-emptive strikes without prior warning,” Chinese media reported on Saturday.

The Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is “preparing for war” with Taiwan with its ongoing war games involving multiple branches of the armed forces, Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post disclosed on Sunday.

“Improving joint operation capabilities necessary for the most likely combat scenarios for the PLA, such as a campaign against Taiwan,” the newspaper reported citing Chinese sources.

The South China Morning Post covered the details of the PLA war games.

China’s military is increasing its use of joint operations and officer cross-training to boost its readiness for war, according to insiders quoted in a newspaper report.

A five-year overhaul of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which ended last year, saw the restructuring of the command chain to make cross-service combat a basic approach for future operations.

To help develop commanders and staff for joint operations, the PLA began its 2021 training programme by deploying army officers on naval vessels and seconding air force officers to the army’s rocket units, PLA Daily reported on Tuesday.

Weeks after congratulating President Biden on his election victory, Xi Jinping ordered the Chinese armed forces to maintain “full-time combat readiness.” The Chinese military must be ready to “act at any second,” he told the troops in early January.

These are not empty threats. In June 2020, China invaded Indian territory, occupying a strategic valley along the Himalayan border. Chinese military continues to build and fortify illegal artificial islands in the South China Sea, creating a formidable defensive wall and a launchpad for offensive operations.

With President Trump out of office, and the West reeling from the Wuhan virus pandemic, Communist China believes that time has come to rise as the world’s number one superpower. The “changes of the international landscape are in our favour,” declared Chen Yixin, a senior Chinese Communist Party official and Xi Jinping’s likely successor, earlier this month.

 

 
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