China responded quickly to the announcement of the new agreement between the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. to construct and deploy eight new Australian nuclear submarines. On Friday, Taiwan announced that ten Chinese military aircraft entered into Taiwanese airspace.
China sent eight fighters, one spy plane, and one anti-submarine aircraft that flew into Taiwan’s airspace and only turned around when Taiwan activated its missile defenses and sent its jets out.
Chinese government-controlled media recently threatened “military measures” if the U.S. formally recognized Taiwan as an independent nation. China’s propaganda has not been specific as to what kind of military action it intends to take, but the timing of the flights over Taiwan appears obvious.
Chinese officials called the new submarine agreement “severely damaging.” The agreement to facilitate nuclear submarine development with another nation is the first of its kind for the U.S. since 1958.
Taiwan has been updating its defense production and deployment recently. The Taiwanese government announced a budget last week that includes increases in defense spending of $8.7 billion over the next five years. Essentially all of Taiwan’s defense focus is on the threat posed by nearby China.
Taiwanese General Chen Huang-rong said that Taiwan’s military urgently needs large-scale development of new weapons in the face of the Chinese threat.
In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, former Trump administration security advisors Robert C. O’Brien and Alexander B. Gray wrote last week that the U.S. and Taiwan have a “relatively brief interval” to address China’s threats against the tiny island nation.
They added that the international narrative of “American decline” following President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan increases China’s probability to use military power to “change the status quo” in Taiwan.
The piece also said that the bipartisan support in Congress currently for assisting with Taiwan’s defense should be used to discourage China from making the “most disastrous geopolitical calculation” since the beginning of World War II in 1939.