Over the weekend, China sent large numbers of military aircraft into the southwestern portion of Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone, near the strategic Pratas Islands, which guard the southern approach to the Taiwan Strait. Saturday’s demonstration of air power was especially provocative, including eight nuclear-capable H6K bombers and fast-moving fighters used in offensive operations. Although the Chinese planes stayed in international airspace, Beijing apparently wanted to deliver hostile messages to Taipei. The Sunday flight was the twentieth Chinese air incursion in less than a month.
The air exercises also sent a warning to the Biden administration. It did not take long for the Biden team to push back. The State Department on Saturday issued a statement calling on China to “cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives.” It pointedly declared America’s “commitment to Taiwan is rock solid.”