China aircraft intrusions deemed to constrict Taiwan's drill space

10/28/2020 09:10 PM
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An air defense unit is deployed in Taoyuan during a week-long quarterly military drill that took place across Taiwan. CNA photo Oct. 28, 2020
An air defense unit is deployed in Taoyuan during a week-long quarterly military drill that took place across Taiwan. CNA photo Oct. 28, 2020

Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) A military expert on Wednesday urged the government to stay on high alert against the repeated intrusions by Chinese aircraft into Taiwan's southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ), even if such intrusions have become a common occurrence for Taiwanese people.

In an interview with CNA, Qi Yue-yi (亓樂義), a Taiwanese military expert, said the moves by China are intended to squeeze the space in which Taiwan's military can conduct drills.

Earlier in the day, a Chinese Y-9EW transport and electronic warfare aircraft intentionally flew into Taiwan's southwest ADIZ -- the 26th such intrusion since Sept. 16.

He called on the government to exercise extreme caution against China's military deployments and to respond adequately if necessary, at a time when such actions by Chinese military planes have become a part of the everyday lives of Taiwan's people and have evolved into a new point of contention across the Taiwan Strait.

He warned of potential "elastic fatigue" among people in Taiwan -- the idea that people will become blasé and no longer concerned -- if such a situation persists, contending that the government should properly allocate its resources in case of any contingency, even if war does not break out across the strait.

Under the precondition that the United States would intervene should a conflict erupt between the two sides, China flies its military aircraft into Taiwan's ADIZ as part of its efforts to familiarize itself with a theater in which it foresees that important military events could occur, Qi analyzed.

In addition, he predicted, China might now be evaluating a good approach to invade Taiwan while drafting related war plans. By sending military aircraft into Taiwan's ADIZ, China could gain experience to deal with occurrences in a potential conflict zone in advance, he pointed out.

Qi stressed, however, that this does not mean that war could break out across the strait "in the near term."

Given that Taiwan has not done anything tangible to move toward Taiwan independence under the current circumstances, the political conditions are not yet ripe for China to wage war against Taiwan, he explained.

Arthur Ding (丁樹範), a professor emeritus at the Graduate Institute of East Asia Studies under National Chengchi University, echoed Qi's remarks, saying that Taiwan should be wary about China's military deployments and explore the reasons why China is sending its military jets into Taiwan's ADIZ.

Since China announced its first wave of military reforms in November 2015, the People's Liberation Army has changed its concept of operations to coordinated movement of all services and to enhance its air and naval offense capabilities, Ding said.

In terms of China's sanctions on three U.S. firms for their arms sales to Taiwan, he said that China is turning its verbal threats into actions, but that this is not expected to have a serious impact on the companies.

(By Flor Wang and Lai Yen-hsi)

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