Chinese jets made a record 380 incursions into Taiwan’s defense zone last year, a defense official said Tuesday, as a military-linked think-tank warned tensions were now at their highest since the mid-1990s.
Democratic and self-ruled Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by authoritarian China, which views the island as its own territory and has vowed to seize it one day, by force if necessary.
Beijing’s animosity has increased dramatically since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen won the election in 2016, as she rejects the idea that the island is part of “one China.”
But the saber-rattling reached new peaks last year as Beijing sent jets, bombers, and surveillance planes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) at an unprecedented rate.
“The 380 incursions into our southwest ADIZ in 2020 are a lot more frequent than the past,” said defense ministry spokesman Shih Shun-wen. “This… poses a threat to regional and our national security.”
Chinese aircraft targeted the area “to test our military’s response, to exert pressure on our aerial defense and to squeeze the aerial space for our activities,” he added.