With tensions high between the US and China, both countries are continuing military flights near Taiwan and in the South China Sea. On Monday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said three US military planes and one Chinese plane entered the southwestern portion of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
On Sunday, Taiwan said seven Chinese military planes and one US aircraft entered Taiwan’s southwester ADIZ. It’s rare that Taiwan acknowledges the presence of US military aircraft, and Sunday was the first time since mid-September that Taipei did so.
An ADIZ is an airspace where a country requires aircraft to identify themselves in the interest of national security. The US created the first ADIZs in the 1950s and established Taiwan’s ADIZ, as well as ones for Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.
In 2013, China established an ADIZ over the East China Sea, which the US challenged by flying B-52 bombers.
Chinese military flights near Taiwan stepped up in September when then-US Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach visited the island. Krach’s trip was the second high-level visit to the island by the Trump Administration.
In August, then-US Health Secretary Alex Azar visited Taiwan, making him the highest-level US official to make the trip since Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei.
With the Biden administration prioritizing Asia to counter Chinese influence, support for Taiwan and US military activity in the region is expected to continue. A few days into Biden’s presidency, a US aircraft carrier leading a strike group entered the South China Sea.