2023-0629: Taiwan Would Strike Back if China Breaches Taiwan’s Airspace and Territorial Sea; U.S. Rep. Rogers Leads Delegation to Taiwan

Taiwan Would Strike Back if Chinese Warplanes and Warships Enter Taiwan’s Airspace and Territorial Sea: MND

On June 27, Taiwan’s military reiterated that it would counter-attack Chinese warships and warplanes in self-defense if they were detected within Taiwan’s 12-nautical-mile (22.2 km) territorial sea and airspace.

The comment came after Chinese warplanes were spotted flying close to the airspace under Taiwan’s control on June 24 for the first time in six months.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), 19 Chinese warplanes were detected around Taiwan from 6 p.m. on June 23 to 6 a.m. on June 24, including an unspecified number of J-10 and J-16 fighter jets.

Among the 19, eight Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and approached Taiwan’s “contiguous zone,” an area of sea adjacent to and beyond Taiwan’s territorial sea that extends seaward up to 24 nautical miles (44.4 km) from Taiwan’s coastal baselines.

Although the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has frequently sent planes and ships in the vicinity of Taiwan and recently flown over the median line of the Taiwan Strait, it rarely sends them near Taiwan’s contiguous zone.

Asked to comment on the PLA’s latest incursions and the MND’s response on June 27, Major General Lin Wen-huang, who is in charge of planning at the MND, said the nation’s armed forces routinely monitor the PLA’s military activities around Taiwan.

In particular, Taiwan’s military closely monitors the movements of the PLA’s warplanes and warships once they cross the Taiwan Strait’s median line median and approach Taiwan’s contiguous zone.

If any PLA aircraft and ships fail to heed our warnings and force their way into Taiwan’s airspace and territorial sea, “our armed forces will strike back in self-defense to resolutely safeguard the security of Taiwan’s airspace and territorial sea,” Lin pledged.

Though Taiwan’s military has always said it would not engage in a “first strike” to avoid giving China an excuse to launch an invasion, Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said publicly in March that did not mean Taiwan’s military would not defend its airspace and territorial waters.

Over the past few years, China has changed the status quo of the Taiwan Strait by flying drones, aircraft and balloons near Taiwan’s airspace, and Taiwan’s military would take action if PLA ships or planes were spotted within the 12-nautical-mile line, he said.

“Once they are detected within Taiwan’s 12-nautical-mile territorial sea and airspace, Taiwan’s military will shoot at them,” Chiu said during a Legislative session in March.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202306270008
[2] Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4929611

Taiwan Pledges to Work with U.S. to Safeguard Indo-Pacific, President Tsai Tells Rep. Rogers’ Delegation

On June 28, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen pledged Taiwan’s dedication to working closely with the United States in safeguarding peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, as she welcomed a U.S. Congressional delegation led by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.

“The United States and Taiwan have had a long and important friendship,” Rogers told Tsai at the Presidential Office in Taipei, adding that “Our shared commitment to the rule of law, democracy, and a free and open Indo-Pacific has only deepened that friendship.”

Joining Rogers are Ranking Member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), as well as U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT), John Garamendi (D-CA), Jill Tokuda (D-HI), David Rouzer (R-NC), Gary Palmer (R-AL), Jim Moylan (R-GU), and Cory Mills (R-FL).

The nine-member bipartisan group, focusing on security affairs, is one of the largest delegations of U.S. lawmakers to visit Taiwan in recent years.

“Taiwan is on the frontline of defense of democratic values. We will continue to work hand-in-hand with the U.S. in such areas as the economy and national defense to jointly safeguard the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” Tsai told the delegation.

“We thank the U.S. Congress for consistently showing bipartisan concern for Taiwan’s security and its show of support [for the nation] through concrete actions,” Tsai said.

Taiwan expresses gratitude to committee members for their continued efforts to “include policy measures in the annual renewal of the National Defense Authorization Act that enhanced Taiwan’s defensive capabilities,” she said. 

The U.S. annual defense legislation “plays a vital part in maintaining the security of Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region,” Tsai said.

Tsai also thanked the U.S. Congress for its support in facilitating the signing of the “First Agreement” under the “U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade” earlier this month, which “marked a new milestone in Taiwan-U.S. trade and economic relations.”

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202306280018
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/06/29/2003802359