On January 23, China sent 13 warplanes into Taiwan’s southwestern air defense zone. China’s planes included eight nuclear-capable bombers, four fighter jets and an anti-submarine patrol aircraft. In response, Taiwan’s air force warned away the Chinese aircraft and deployed missiles to monitor them.
After the incident and on the same day, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command dispatched an aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt into the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas” in the waterway.
Also on the same day, the U.S. State Department released a statement confirming its support for Taiwan. The statement asserted,
“The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives.
We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region — and that includes deepening our ties with democratic Taiwan. The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan. The United States maintains its longstanding commitments as outlined in the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.”
However, on the next day, Beijing sent another 15 aircraft to break into Taiwan’s airspace.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy Framework that the Trump administration declassified stated the following:
“Objective: Deter China from using military force against the United States and U.S. allies or partners, and develop the capabilities and concepts to defeat Chinese actions across the spectrum of conflict.”
One action toward this objective is: “Devise and implement a defense strategy capable of, but not limited to: (1) denying China sustained air and sea dominance inside the “first island chain” in a conflict; (2) defending the first-island-chain nations, including Taiwan; and (3) dominating all domains outside the first island-chain.”
1. New York Post, January 23, 2021.
2. State Department, January 23, 2021.
3. New York Post, January 25, 2021.