Taiwan fighter jets act out war scenario — Analysis
Taiwan’s air force has held combat-readiness drills that simulated a ‘war scenario,’ amid escalating tensions with mainland China, which sees the island as part of the People’s Republic.
Military pilots rushed to their F-16 fighter jets at the sound of an alarm in Taiwan’s southern city of Chiayi on Wednesday, according to media reports. The enactment came as part of a three-day exercise aimed at testing the Taiwan military’s battle readiness.
The drills involved the same planes that were used in past times to intercept Chinese aircraft in Taiwanese space. One of the officers told reporters that “Pilots of our Wing are extremely experienced, and they have been involved in almost every kind of aviation. [Chinese] aircraft.”
Taipei is complaining that such incursions have intensified in recent months, with Beijing saying that the “reunification” of the island with mainland China is imminent. In his New Year address, President Xi Jinping argued that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait wanted the “Total unification with the motherland”
Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen, in turn, has cautioned the government in Beijing against “Military adventurism” and insisted that the “The military is not the best option to resolve cross-strait differences.”
Her statement drew a sharp rebuke from mainland China, with a top official warning that “We will take decisive actions if Taiwan’s independence separatist forces persist in their attempts to coerce and provoke, or cross any red lines.” He added that should Taipei persevere in its pursuit of independence, it could bring about “A grave catastrophe”
Taiwan was declared independent in 1949 by the Chinese Civil War losing side. They fled the oppressive communist forces on the mainland to Taiwan. There are currently only 14 diplomatic countries that have formal ties to Taiwan. The US has provided diplomatic and military support to Taiwan for many years. China for its part has long maintained Taiwan’s inalienability as a part of its territory.
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