World China Flies Nuclear-Capable Bombers Into Taiwan's Air Defense Zone Amid Escalating Tensions
The Latest: Taiwan schools open with masks, plastic dividers
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Schools across Taiwan have reopened for the academic year as the island's largest COVID-19 outbreak subsides. Schools on the island shut down in May and many switched online in the face of the island’s largest outbreak, which has since passed 15,000 cases. Taiwan is now reporting new COVID-19 cases in the single digits. Students will eat lunch at their own desks, which now have plastic dividers separating students. Masks are required, and classrooms will have exhaust fans to circulate air.Two giant balloons and music created a festive air greeting the students arriving for classes at Tienmu Elementary School on Wednesday.
Taiwan's defense ministry reported that Chinese military airplanes—including nuclear-capable bombers—flew into the nation's air defense identification zone on Sunday.
China claims Taiwan under its "one country, two systems" policy, but democratically run Taiwan functions independently of the mainland andfor decades. However they have increased over the past year as Taiwan has complained about of its airspace by Chinese military planes.
China Could Invade Taiwan Under These Seven Scenarios, Defense Report Says
In an annual report prepared for lawmakers, Taiwan's Defense Ministry gave its latest assessments of China's military capabilities and ambitions.The August 31 report containing its annual assessment of People's Liberation Army (PLA) capabilities and ambitions was submitted to the legislature along with a proposal for an increase in defense spending in 2022.
On Sunday, Taiwan's air force scrambled against 19 Chinese military aircraft, Reuters first reported. Taiwan's defense ministry said that the incursion included 10 J-16 and four Su-30 fighters. Additionally, China sent four H-6 bombers, which can transport nuclear weapons, as well as an anti-submarine aircraft.
Taiwan also readied its missile defense systems in case of an attack, the defense ministry said, according to Reuters.
Last week, Taiwan's defense ministry presented a stark picture of the Chinese military threat in an annual report. It said that China could potentially "paralyze" Taiwan's defense capabilities through "soft and hard electronic attacks."
In June, China launchedinvolving 28 military planes. That marked the largest such incursion by the Chinese of Taiwan's air space reported to date. China routinely carries out smaller flyovers to retaliate against signs of international support for Taiwan's independence.
The Retreat from Afghanistan Has Made America's Allies Nervous. None More So Than Taiwan
Taiwanese politicians of all stripes have acknowledged that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is a wake-up call . Pro-China voices are urging better relations with Beijing; China skeptics are calling for greater self-reliance in defense. Beijing is meanwhile growing in confidence: anti-China protesters in semi-autonomous Hong Kong have been brought to heel and, following Washington’s latest humiliation, Chinese state media is now dismissing Taiwan’s chief protector as a “paper tiger.”“Taiwan’s only option is to make itself stronger, more united and more determined to protect itself,” Taiwan’s U.S.
Although it's unclear what specifically led to China's Sunday incursion, it came after European lawmakers expressed solidarity with Taiwan. Lithuania announced plans to deepen ties with Taiwan and open a diplomatic office there later this year. China responded with displeasure, demanding the European nation recall its ambassador. The Chinese government said it recalled its ambassador from Lithuania as well.
In response, 62 lawmakers in the European Parliament representing 20 countries signed a letter in support of Lithuania.
"We write to express our solidarity and our support for Lithuania against the threats, intimidation and bullying behavior targeted at the Lithuanian people by the government of the People's Republic of China," they wrote.
"The Chinese government's aggressive actions towards Lithuania are symptomatic of its broader refusal to abide by norms, values and standards of the international rules-based order," the lawmakers continued.
Joe Biden and Boris Johnson 'Discussed' Taiwan As China Ups Threats After Afghanistan
The British prime minister was asked to offer the U.K.'s support to the people of Taiwan amid escalating threats and disinformation campaigns from China.At a session in the House of Commons on Monday, Johnson was pressed by fellow Conservative parliamentarian Iain Duncan Smith to offer assurances to the people of Taiwan, who face a coordinated propaganda campaign that aims to sow doubt about U.S. security commitments after American-led coalition forces withdrew from Afghanistan in August.
The Global Times, an English-language tabloid published by the Chinese Communist Party, published an opinion article on Sunday slamming the European posturing on Taiwan.
"Lithuania is seeking to develop relations with Taiwan island in a way that breaks the one-China principle," the article said. "But European side has in turn said China conducted 'coercive' diplomacy. This is clearly rogue political logic. Some Europeans cannot tell the right from the wrong. This is because they have put self-interest at their center."
Last month, thealso sent a warship and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter to sail through the Taiwan Strait in a show of support against China's aggressive behavior. Newsweek reached out to the State Department for comment on the latest Chinese incursion but did not immediately receive a response.
Taiwan War Games Simulate Chinese Biological and Chemical Attack .
Taiwan's annual Han Kuang live-fire drills—scaled down due to the pandemic—will last through Friday and include both standing army and reserve mobilization.The 37th Han Kuang war games—already scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic—will involve the mobilization of both standing and select reserve forces. Drills will take place throughout Taiwan as well as on its outlying islands in the Taiwan Strait.