With the controversy surrounding a US spy plane that flew over Taiwan, China has reiterated its threats and the determination to annex the island province.
Earlier this week, there were allegations that the United States flew an RC-135W reconnaissance aircraft over the Island of Taiwan, which the US Air Force first confirmed and then denied the claims in a highly unusual manner.
On Oct. 23, 2020, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Tony Wickman, the Director of Public Affairs for Pacific Air Forces, reached out to The War Zone to say that the original confirmation of the RC-135W flying over Northern Taiwan had been in error.
“On Wednesday, my staff responded to your query regarding an RC-135 flight and I must inform you that what we gave you was incorrect,” he said. “I would like to correct the record by stating we did not have any U.S. aircraft in that area on the date and time in question. I apologize for passing bad information to you as you attempted to provide accurate information to your readers.”
Even the Taiwanese media denied such claims of the plane’s sortie over its airspace. This matter, according to Hu Xijin (the editor-in-chief of Global Times), shows that the US and the Island both know how serious the matter would be, leading to dangerous escalations in the region.
Beijing has been overtly threatening Taipei of an invasion especially in the second half of 2020, when it has breached and violated the nation’s airspace and waters almost every day, reportedly putting pressure on the ‘secessionist’ forces.
However, the Taiwanese authorities have stated otherwise, saying that the threats only strengthen the people’s resolve to fight the Mainland communist forces, and even the United States’ National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has warned China against invading the island nation.
“This shows that both the US and the island of Taiwan realize the seriousness of such a flight. Whether or not the spy plane actually flew over the island, it should be kept in mind that US military aircraft are not allowed to fly over Taiwan.
This is the bottom line. If concrete evidence ever shows that a US military aircraft flew over the island, I believe the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would respond firmly with operations such as sending fighter jets into airspace over the island to defend our country’s territorial sky.
If that were to occur, the military structure in the Taiwan Straits would be reshaped – and that would be an important move toward reunification,” writes the Chief Editor of Global Times.
In the article, Hu Xijin also warned the Taiwanese officials that by moving forward with establishing serious diplomatic relations with the United States is a ‘dead-end’ for them, and also reminded them of the deployment of DF-17 hypersonic cruise missiles at the Chinese southern coast aimed at Taiwan.
In response, Washington has recently agreed three major arms sales to Taipei, including precision strike cruise missiles capable of reaching and striking the targets at the mainland. Earlier in August, Trump administration also approved the sales of 66 modern F-16 Block 70/72 Viper jets to RoCAF, seen as a move which will be able to upgun the current F16 fleet of the island.