Taiwan Strait

CrisisWatch Taiwan Strait

Unchanged Situation

China maintained frequent aerial and maritime activity around island, while opposition party Kuomintang (KMT) went to China, and U.S. and Taiwan exchanged visits by senior officials.

China continued military presence around island. As of 27 Feb, Taiwan detected 311 Chinese military aircraft entering its air defence identification zone (ADIZ) during month, of which at least 110 either crossed unofficial maritime demarcation known as “median line” or were detected in south-western ADIZ near strategic Bashi Channel; Taiwan reported 109 sightings of Chinese naval vessels in surrounding waters in course of month. Notably, Taiwan 1 Feb activated missile systems and scrambled jets in response to operations by 34 Chinese military aircraft and nine warships, including 20 aircraft crossing median line.

Taiwan opposition delegation visited China. Ahead of Taiwan’s presidential election in Jan 2024, main opposition party KMT’s Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia 8-17 Feb led delegation to China, meeting with newly appointed Director of Taiwan Affairs Office Song Tao and China’s top Taiwan affairs official Wang Huning; KMT said visit concerned needs of Taiwanese based in China, Chinese business regulations and developing ties with Chinese officials; Song and Wang both expressed China’s desire to enhance mutual trust and cooperation with KMT on basis of “1992 consensus”. Shanghai’s Taiwan Affairs Office officials 18-20 Feb visited Taiwan following invitation by Taipei city authorities, marking first visit by Chinese officials to Taiwan since borders reopened last Oct.

Taiwan and U.S. continued defence ties and exchanged visits by senior officials. Taiwan 8 Feb signed two contracts with U.S. worth total of $85mn to maintain its fleet of F-16 fighter jets. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Chase 17 Feb arrived in Taiwan, marking visit by most senior U.S. defence official since 2019. Bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation 21 Feb met President Tsai, who confirmed two countries “continue to bolster military exchanges”. Reports late month indicated U.S. looking to expand its small troop presence in Taiwan to help train Taiwanese forces. FM Joseph Wu and National Security Council Sec Gen Wellington Ku 23 Feb visited Washington for security dialogue with senior U.S. officials, including Deputy Sec State Wendy Sherman.

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In The News

7 Mar 2023
Beijing will have to publicly condemn [Taiwan President] Tsai’s visit to the US, their ultimate response will depend on what Tsai says and who she meets with on her trip. The Guardian

Amanda Hsiao

Senior Analyst, China
19 Dec 2022
At the moment, we think that China has not fully developed the capability to guarantee a sure victory if it chooses to launch a military option on Taiwan. CNA

Ivy Kwek

Fellow, China
27 Aug 2022
[Western politicians] increasingly view a visit to Taiwan as an opportunity to signal their anti-China bona fides for domestic political reasons. The Guardian

Amanda Hsiao

Senior Analyst, China
4 Aug 2022
China's announced military exercises represent a clear escalation from the existing baseline of Chinese military activities around Taiwan [...]. Beijing is signalling tha... AFP

Amanda Hsiao

Senior Analyst, China

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