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Chinese jets in Taiwan: airspace violation or precursor to a military operation akin to Russia's?
Since Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, various forums have debated whether China would take similar steps to enforce its sovereignty over Taiwan.
China: The visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan is the culmination of the verbal duel that has been going on between the US and China over the last few days, with questions being raised about whether the intrusion of Chinese jets is just another case of airspace violation or a precursor to China's military operation in Taiwan.
Since Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, various forums have debated whether China would take similar steps to enforce its sovereignty over Taiwan, according to The Singapore Post.
China's eagerness to launch a Russia-style military operation in Taiwan was evident on August 2, when 20 of its jets violated Taiwanese airspace in protest of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit, which landed in Taipei on August 2.
According to a spokesperson for the Chinese Defense Ministry, China will conduct targeted military operations in response to Nancy Pelosi's visit.
On July 20, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Bill Burns stated that Russia's experience in Ukraine is influencing China's calculations about how and when it may decide to invade Taiwan.
He went on to say that China was "uneasy" after watching the war in Europe, and that Beijing is likely to have realised that a quick decisive victory would be impossible with such a small force.
According to Burns, the lessons China is learning include the need to amass an overwhelming force, control the information space, and strengthen its economy in the face of sanctions.
According to The Singapore Post, Qin Gang, the Chinese Ambassador to the US, stated at the same forum that by strengthening political and military ties with Taiwan, the US is blurring the "One China policy."
Responding to a question about the CIA director's remark that Russia's experience in Ukraine is making China reconsider a potential invasion of Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin urged the US side to accept responsibility for the crisis and work actively to resolve it.
He went on to say that the Ukraine issue and the Taiwan issue are fundamentally different, and he urged the US to follow the one-China principle and refrain from interfering in China's internal affairs.
Later, on July 25, in an interview with The Atlantic, US National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan expressed hope that a Russian defeat in Ukraine would prevent China from annexing Taiwan. According to him, part of America's goal in Ukraine is to demonstrate that strength and resilience can effectively deter others elsewhere.
Sullivan, however, added that China may be learning the wrong lessons from the Russian invasion by better preparing for a possible contingency involving Taiwan rather than being deterred.
Refuting American claims of a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, China's Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Geng Shuang, accused the US of double standards for challenging Beijing's sovereignty over Taiwan while emphasising the principle of sovereignty for Ukraine in the aftermath of Russia's military action in Ukraine.
According to The Singapore Post, a spokesperson for the US Mission to the UN dismissed China's comment as "an attempt to distract and deflect blame from the reality," and added that Russia's aggression against Ukraine is unacceptable under any circumstances.
Meanwhile, in a recent economic dialogue, the United States and Japan agreed that China's coercive and retaliatory economic practices force countries into decisions that jeopardise their security, intellectual property, and economic independence, and referred to the Ukraine conflict as a serious challenge to the international order that China is exploiting by using economic influence unfairly and opaquely to achieve stratification. (ANI news service)