Taiwan Says China Wants to ‘Normalize’ Increased Military Activity

Since Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in early August, China has been regularly flying warplanes over the median line that separates the Taiwan Strait

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that China is seeking to “normalize” its stepped-up military activity around Taiwan, including Chinese flights over the median line, which came in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visiting the island.

“In the future, the activities of Chinese Communist military aircraft and ships entering our air defense identification zone, crossing the median line, and approaching maritime areas close to the island will gradually become more normalized,” the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said.

Since Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan at the beginning of August, China has been regularly flying warplanes across the median line, an unofficial barrier that separates the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. It was drawn by the US in the 1950s, but China had generally avoided crossing the line since then.

But that has changed, thanks to Pelosi’s visit and other increasing US support for the island. According to Japan Times, China flew 302 sorties across the median line in August. Between 1954 and August 2020, China flew across the barrier only four times. Between September 2020 and Pelosi’s visit, Chinese warplanes made the flight 23 times.

The uptick in Chinese flights after August 2020 was in response to the Trump administration sending the highest-level cabinet officials to Taiwan since Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979.

Pelosi’s stop in Taiwan was followed by several more US delegations despite warnings from Beijing. Last month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a bill that would fundamentally change US policy toward Taiwan.

Known as the Taiwan Policy Act, the legislation would give Taipei $6.5 billion in military aid, require sanctions in the event of Chinese aggression toward Taiwan, and give the island the benefit of being a “major non-NATO ally.” President Biden has also broken from the decades-old policy of strategic ambiguity on Taiwan by pledging to defend the island if China attacks.

In another sign of the US’s increasing support, the Biden administration sent a high-level State Department official to the annual  US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, which was held in Richmond, Virginia, this week.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.