On June 11, the Taiwanese air force swiftly responded after it detected 10 Chinese warplanes transcending the critical median line of the contentious Taiwan Strait. Simultaneously, the defence ministry of the island reported that four Chinese warships were engaged in combat patrols crossing over the Median line.
On Sunday, a group of Chinese warplanes were observed in the vicinity of the crucial median line of the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan’s air force promptly took action by launching its fighter jets and deploying ships and land-based missile systems to monitor the activities of the Chinese fleet.
Within less than a week, Taiwan reported a second instance of renewed Chinese military activity. The first occurrence involved 37 Chinese military aircraft entering the air defence zone on Thursday. Some of these aircraft continued their flight path into the western Pacific.
China, considering democratically governed Taiwan as its territory, has consistently conducted flights of its air force near the island over the past three years. It is important to note that these flights have not crossed into the country’s territorial airspace, this being the first instance of direct incursion in the Taiwan Strait.
ADIZ and Gray-Zone tactics
As per the statement from Taiwan’s defence ministry, at 5 am, they identified 37 Chinese air force planes, which consisted of J-11 and J-16 fighters, along with nuclear-capable H-6 bombers. These aircraft entered the southwestern section of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
The ADIZ is a larger area that Taiwan actively monitors and patrols, aiming to grant its forces more time to prepare and respond to potential threats.
Since September 2020, Beijing has been employing “gray zone tactics” more frequently, which involve deploying military aircraft and naval vessels across the median line and inside Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ). These tactics are a means for China to assert its influence and put pressure on Taiwan without directly crossing into its territorial airspace.
As defined by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, gray zone tactics refer to a set of actions or strategies that go beyond typical deterrence and assurance measures. These tactics aim to achieve security objectives without resorting to direct and significant use of force.
In the context of the contentious Strait, China’s employment of gray zone tactics involves actions such as military deployments near the median line and within ADIZ to assert influence and exert pressure while avoiding overt military confrontation.
As per Taiwan’s defence ministry, certain Chinese aircraft flew in the southeast direction and ventured into the western Pacific. The stated objective of these aircraft was to engage in activities such as “air surveillance and long-distance navigation training.”
Aircrafts deployed in retaliation
In response to this development, Taiwan took action by deploying its aircraft, and ships, and activating land-based missile systems. These measures were taken per the standard protocols for handling Chinese activities of this nature, with the primary objective being the monitoring of the situation.
China’s defence ministry has not provided an immediate response to requests for comment regarding the incident.
In April, China conducted military exercises around Taiwan following a trip by president, Tsai Ing-wen, to the United States.
Incidentally, Taiwan’s government firmly rejects China’s sovereignty claims and emphasizes that the future of the island should be determined solely by its people.
Meanwhile, China has not renounced the use of force to assert control over Taiwan, especially as it prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections in January.
In a video address to supporters on the Matsu islands, Vice President William Lai, who is running as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate, expressed his commitment to maintaining a peaceful status quo in the Strait if elected. However, talks between both nations have been elusive as Beijing considers President Tsai Ing-wen and her party as separatists.
Strengthening China-Honduras ties
On Sunday, Honduras officially inaugurated its embassy in China, marking a significant diplomatic shift as the Central American nation switched its allegiance from Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, to Beijing.
This move has solidified the establishment of official diplomatic relations between Honduras and China creating a watershed moment in the Asia-Pacific.
Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina expressed that the establishment of diplomatic relations between Honduras and China will create fresh opportunities and capabilities to enhance cooperation between the two nations.