Taiwanese air force warns off incursion from increasingly bellicose China

taiwanese air force
(Image credit: SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Taiwan's military scrambled fighters and readied missile defenses after 27 Chinese aircraft entered its air defense zone Sunday, Reuters reports.

The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) had launched a wave of similar incursions in early October. This latest provocation included 18 fighters, 6 bombers, and an aerial refueling aircraft. The PLAAF is currently working to improve its aerial refueling capabilities.

Chinese public opinion and political rhetoric have become increasingly bellicose in recent months, according to The New York Post, with some observers fearing that the People's Republic may be laying the groundwork for an invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a rebel province. The opinion, long-held by many foreign policy experts, that China would prefer to wait for conditions more favorable to peaceful reintegration is seemingly becoming less tenable as the nation has recently "ratcheted up military threats against the self-governing island," Military.com wrote in October.

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Last month, President Joe Biden reiterated the United States' commitment to defending Taiwan against Chinese invasion, but whether the United States could win such a hypothetical conflict is another matter: In the autumn of 2020, the U.S. Air Force held a war game that simulated a conflict with China over Taiwan, and the American forces were soundly defeated.

Defense writer Michael Puttré, however, argues in Discourse that, with American support, Taiwan can expect to successfully repel any invasion attempted by China. He even suggests that the kind of large-scale amphibious invasion China would need to carry out may well be impossible if opposed by an enemy with modern weapons. No comparable invasion has been attempted since 1950.

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