Taiwan Strait

CrisisWatch Taiwan Strait

Unchanged Situation

China maintained aerial and maritime military activity as Taiwan’s VP transited U.S., while Washington, Seoul and Tokyo pledged commitment to strait’s stability.

China held military exercises as Taiwan’s VP transited U.S. As of 28 Aug, Taiwan had detected 351 Chinese military aircraft around Taiwan, of which at least 115 crossed unofficial “median line” or were detected in south-western ADIZ; at sea, Taiwan spotted 183 Chinese navy vessels in surrounding waters. Taiwan’s VP and presidential candidate Lai Ching Te 12 Aug transited New York en route to Paraguay and 15 Aug went through San Francisco during return trip, meeting Taiwanese Americans and representatives of American Institute of Taiwan; upon his return, Lai said Taiwan’s election in 2024 is choice between democracy and autocracy, declaring that China cannot decide outcome. In response, Beijing 18 Aug launched low-key joint air and sea exercise around island. Taiwan’s military 15-17 Aug carried out “precision missile drill” during which air-to-air and anti-ship missiles were fired at decommissioned vessels. China 21 Aug banned import of Taiwan mangoes, citing concern with pests in likely attempt to create political pressures for Taiwan’s ruling party. U.S. 23 Aug approved $500mn sale to Taiwan of F-16 infrared search-and-track systems. Tsai administration 24 Aug proposed 7.7% increase in next year’s defence budget.

U.S., South Korea and Japan voiced support for stability. In historic trilateral meeting between leaders of U.S., Japan and South Korea, trio 18 Aug reaffirmed commitment to peace and stability across Taiwan Strait and called for peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. President Tsai 11 Aug expressed Taiwan’s interest in participating in NATO’s Center of Excellences in Baltic countries, as she urged parliamentary delegations from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to help deepen defence cooperation.

High-profile Japanese figures visited Taiwan. Former Japanese PM Taro Aso 7 Aug visited Taiwan and delivered keynote address at regional forum in which he urged international community to “wake up” to worsening situation in Taiwan Strait. Nobuyuki Baba, leader of Japanese parliament’s second-largest opposition party, 2 Aug visited capital Taipei, asserting “Taiwan’s peace is Japan’s peace" and calling for more cooperation on deterrence.

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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

Giustra 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

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