China’s Beijing has invaded Taiwan’s airspace 149 times in the past four days, raising fears of all-out war – here’s everything you need to know about mounting tensions
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Chinese jets entered Taiwan’s airspace 149 times in four days and sparked the worst war fears in decades.
Beijing claims ownership of Taiwan, an island 180 kilometers off China’s east coast that broke away from the communist mainland in 1949.
Taiwan has 175,000 full-time soldiers and more than a million reservists, but should it fall it would become an exposure of tyrannical Chinese government control.
The US and allies like the UK and Australia are alarmed as they could be drawn into a conflict. The US naval maneuvers in the Indo-Pacific, which include the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, have been tightened.
Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng described the situation as “the worst in the 40 years since I was called up”.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen warned: “If Taiwan falls, the consequences for peace in the region will be catastrophic.”
She believed it would show that “authoritarianism prevails over democracy”.
Why is this happening now?
China is desperate to expand further after effectively taking over large parts of Vietnam and Cambodia and investing money in control of all of Africa and even Afghanistan.
The US is withdrawing its military worldwide and its response to a Taiwan invasion is not guaranteed.
China’s President Xi Jinping is under constant pressure to influence his people through nationalism, fear and strategic achievements.
In his own eyes, the takeover of Taiwan would strengthen the regime’s credibility, power and global influence. It would be a great victory over America. China believes Taiwan must be the next target in its strategic pursuit of global domination.
What is the chance of an attempted invasion and all-out war?
While China recently operated flights, 17 ships, including three aircraft carriers, from six navies – the US, UK, Japan, the Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand – maneuvered off Okinawa, the Japanese islands northeast of Taiwan. The aim was to show commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.
The former British frigate, HMS Richmond, crossed the Taiwan Strait and angered China, calling it a “meaningless demonstration of presence with malicious intent”.
But yesterday, US President Joe Biden and Mr. Xi reaffirmed the Taiwan Agreement, which says that US diplomatic relations with China in the future will depend on Taiwan’s fate being determined only by peaceful means.
Mr. Chiu claimed that China was ready for an invasion but would be fully prepared in three years. He said, “It has the capacity now, but it won’t start a war so easily.” The possibility of war in the near future is slim, but the fear of war by 2025 is much greater.
AFP via Getty Images)
How is China exercising its global influence?
In every possible way, from economic expansion, geopolitical maneuvers, lending money, large-scale web hacking to stealing billions of pounds of research and development and military threats.
His multi-billion dollar “Belt and Road” policy has built a communications network of complex interconnected roads, sea trade routes and trade links with around 71 countries.
Beijing practices “debt diplomacy” like the mafia. But governments from Malaysia to Pakistan are reconsidering costs after witnessing events in Sri Lanka, where the government was forced to lease a port to a Chinese company for 99 years after battling for repayments.
It is believed that eight other belt and road countries are at serious risk of not being able to repay their loans and being forced to go out of business or lease them to China.
How would the West react to an invasion of Taiwan?
AUKUS, a new defense deal between the US, Australia and the UK focused on building nuclear submarines, is good news for Taiwan.
It means China would never be safe to believe that it knows where all attack submarines are at any given time. They can wipe out large numbers of ships very quickly – but if a Chinese fleet set sail, Aukus would have to launch an attack that is likely to wreak havoc within 72 hours.
Would Britain get involved?
The British carrier strike force is likely to be deployed along with a number of attack submarines linked to the British allies.
Its F-35B fighter jets and accompanying escort warships would be a great asset in any maritime conflict.
If China attacked Taiwan, it could mean a very bloody war, even if only local fighting.
Since a conventional war against China is likely to cost tens of thousands of lives, China could count on the West to stay out of it.
But if she tried to stand up for Taiwan, nuclear weapons could come into play.
350 Nuclear weapons
300,000 Naval personnel
527 Warships including 4th Aircraft carrier
708.886 Tons of ships
59 Submarines ( 12th of which nuclear power)
United States of America
5,800 Nuclear weapons
347.044 Naval personnel
290 deployable warships including 20th Aircraft carrier.
3,415,893 Tons of ships
66 Subs ( 52 Nuclear power)