Following a week of tensions between China and Taiwan, China’s president, Xi Jinping, has vowed to achieve “reunification” with Taiwan while avoiding the use of force.
Taiwan, which is democratically run, is under pressure to accept Beijing’s sovereignty. Despite all military and political pressure, Taiwan maintains its independence, referring to itself as the Republic of China.
On the 100th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew China’s last imperial dynasty in 1911, Xi said in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, “Taiwan’s independence separatism is the biggest obstacle to achieving the reunification of the motherland and the most serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation.”
“The historical task of complete reunification of the motherland must and will undoubtedly be completed.”
With close to 150 aircraft, China’s air force invaded Taiwan’s air defense zone on October 1.
While many believe that war is not imminent, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has warned that much is at stake.
“If Taiwan falls, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system,” she wrote recently in Foreign Affairs magazine in an op-ed. “It would indicate that authoritarianism has the upper hand over democracy in today’s global value contest.”
“Perhaps more significant than the number of planes was the group’s composition, with fighters, bombers, and airborne early warning aircraft,” said Euan Graham, a defense analyst with Singapore’s International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“That’s the level of sophistication — it appears to be a strike package, and that’s part of the increase in pressure,” he explained. “This isn’t just a couple of fighters coming close and then turning around after putting one wing across the median; this is a much more purposeful maneuver,” he added.