The high-profile US visit to Taiwan provoked a furious response from China. Massive military exercises surround the islands. A missile is flying over its territory.
But what we’ve seen so far is only Beijing’s reflex reaction, using what was ready at the time.
And analysts warn that the potential for escalation could be huge.
“This is not a 24-hour event, we expect China to react over days, weeks, and possibly months,” said Bonnie Glaser, a prominent Chinese analyst. increase.
Researchers at the German Martial Arts Foundation think tank say it all depends on President Xi Jinping’s conclusions about Washington’s intentions and Taiwan’s President Tsai’s policies.
And while President Tsai has relaxed with regard to Taiwan’s military response, she has verbally criticized Beijing.
“Evil neighbors” are showing off their power, she told local media this weekend, adding that “China is arbitrarily destroying the world’s most frequently used waterway in military exercises.” rice field.
view from above
Commercially available satellite imagery reveals the wide range of China’s threats.
They show that the latest warships are surveying Taiwan’s territorial waters and diverting merchant vessels to designated “live ammunition” zones. There are six zones strategically placed around the island to thwart ships attempting to approach Taiwan’s major ports.
Meanwhile, social media posts claim to show Chinese military drones and missiles flying over Taiwan’s airspace.
“I think this is the new normal,” former CIA analyst John Culver said last week at a panel at the Institute for Strategic and International Studies.
“The Chinese want to show that the line has been crossed by the speaker’s visit. raise the definition of
Dr. Michael Sullivan, an international relations expert at Flinders University, says he sees a long-planned response by the Chinese government to just such a high-profile visit to Taiwan. .
“China shows that the era of US military dominance in the Strait is over,” he said. “The crisis will end when and how China chooses.”
And that depends as much on the domestic front as it does on the international response.
Dr. Sullivan said, “Most people who observe military exercises lasting at least several days correctly interpret them as ‘performances’ largely for domestic consumption.
“The Communist Party is using its military might to satisfy China’s social media demands that the government forcefully respond.”
Glaser agrees that it all depends on what unfolds in the coming week.
“Relationships are in a very bad state right now,” she says. “I don’t know what else they will do. I don’t know if this is just temporary.”
Blockade by Other Name
“Several Communist Party aircraft and ships were conducting operations around the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the Central Line,” Taipei’s defense ministry said in a statement.
The ship is moving away from Taiwan, around which live warheads are “tested”. Some international airlines are canceling flights rather than trying to change destinations.
“The government and military are closely monitoring China’s military exercises and information warfare operations and stand ready to respond if necessary,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter.
“I call on the international community to support Taiwan’s democratization and stop the deterioration of the security situation in the region.”
But Washington is careful not to escalate the situation. However, he claims the Chinese government is trying to distort history.
“China will go a long way in de-escalating tensions simply by ending these provocative military exercises and ending its rhetoric,” said White House spokesman John Kirby.
He added that the Chinese government is trying to change the 73-year history that Taiwan has developed into a self-ruling island democracy. He said he would oppose unilateral changes to the status quo from either side.
But China is determined to capitalize on how far its military capabilities have advanced since a similar confrontation over Taiwan in 1995.
“Beijing is testing its battle plans for invading Taiwan with a live-fire exercise that effectively encircles Taiwan,” said Dr. Sullivan.
He says the PLA similarly “launched” missiles over Taiwan during the third Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1995-96. But after the United States moved the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Independence and their battle groups through the Taiwan Strait, Beijing was forced to back down.
But nearly three decades of resolute military modernization and expansion may have prevented a similar response.
“President Biden is unlikely to risk an aircraft carrier or two to end the Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis,” he concludes. “The Chinese government is signaling that the era of US military strikes in the Taiwan Strait is over.”
“Our position is just, reasonable and lawful. Our measures are firm, strong and proportionate. It is also open, transparent and professional, aimed at warning perpetrators and punishing “Taiwan independence” forces. ‘ said Yi on Saturday night.
Sullivan said Beijing has a clear message to sell through its military exhibits.
“They weren’t in a hurry,” he adds. “Chinese state media have prepared well-prepared packages of Dongfeng (DF) ballistic missile launches and accompanying maps of restricted areas around Taiwan, designed for local and Western media and YouTube. ing.”
That’s why the West is so careful about how the confrontation is structured, warns Lev Nachman, a political scientist at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University.
“The PLA wants people in Taiwan and abroad (i.e. the United States) to declare this the Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis. because it reflects the he writes.
So far, China’s reaction has been “predictable,” he said.
“While it remains to be determined whether the benefits of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan will outweigh the costs, most experts predict that China will retaliate with some sort of increased military threat. ’ he says.
“China also pre-announced drills — in as little as 48 hours. By pre-announcing where these drills would take place, Taiwan was given time to prepare physically and mentally. When the training started, we knew it was going to happen, so no one was surprised.”
Nachman added that there is as yet no evidence that this military stance will continue.
“These military exercises don’t last for another week and are not non-stop events,” he said. “If China wants an escalating crisis that puts constant pressure on Taiwan, I don’t think those of us here in Taiwan have the luxury of knowing when it will end. I don’t think it will be that fast.”
“I realize that the next few days may prove me wrong, but for now, I will use the rhetorical form of the 4th Taiwan Strait Crisis to explain what is happening today. No words needed.”
As tensions rise between China and Taiwan, photos sound a stark warning
Source link As tensions rise between China and Taiwan, photos sound a stark warning