China Full Steam Ahead Towards Taiwan in Defiance of US Funding Their Defense

Ivan Marc /
Ivan Marc /

President Biden’s latest defense spending bill seemed to focus on everyone but the US. With money earmarked for Ukraine and Taiwan (among others), he was sure to ruffle a few feathers with both the Russian and Chinese governments. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese are the first to step up and show their displeasure with this latest development.

Over 24 hours of Christmas, the Chinese scrambled 71 planes and seven ships toward Taiwan, in a full display of force. This attempt to peacock their way into showing them who is the mightiest nation included crossing previously agreed-upon territorial zones. While this agreement was never signed into a treaty or anything of the sort, it was a sign of mutual respect albeit a forced one.

While the Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has sent planes or ships toward the island on a nearly-daily basis after intensifying things in recent years, this was one of their largest demonstrations to date. Starting at 6 am Sunday, they continued straight through to 6 am Monday. Of that 41 of the planes cross the Taiwan Strait, which is one of the major points they agreed upon not crossing.

They sent a variety of planes, with reports of 18 J-16 fighter jets, 11 J-1 fighters, 6 Su-30 fighters, and scores of drones taking to the air, the threat to Taiwan was real. In response, the Taiwan military tracked the aircraft on their land-based missile systems and their naval fleet.

Shi Yi, the spokesman for the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command issued a statement about their intentions Sunday night. “This is a firm response to the current US-Taiwan escalation and provocation.” The PLA also announced joint combat patrols and strike drills in the waters around Taiwan.

Shi’s reference to the US calling China a strategic challenge in the defense spending bill is a sign that they are paying real attention to what the American people are doing, and what our end goals are. Considering the language would permit more interaction with Taiwan, with cooperation with India on new defense technologies, readiness, and logistics, it makes China nervous.

For years it has been a joke among innovators in the defense industry that India and China are in a race to see who can advance the most first, while the rest of the globe tries to keep up. While not entirely accurate, these two nations tend to develop rough ideas incredibly frequently, with the US often reimagining or greatly improving them before they become realities.

These demonstrations from China seem to happen any time the US shows interest in helping Taiwan or in doing business with them. Following Nancy Pelosi’s visit in August, they undertook five different demonstrations and shows of force, with none of them amounting to any danger or intimidation. With the Chinese looking at any visit to Taiwan as an admission that the country sees Taiwan as separate from mainland China, they are almost always ready to put on a show of force.

Much like North Korea lobbing out rockets, this is more of an annoyance and a small risk to a limited number of people, but as a nation, we must still take note. As Japan showed us in WWII, if we ignore the small things, they can quickly become horrific catastrophes. The American people need to keep an eye on the Indo-Pacific region.

While we want Taiwan to know freedom, we also have a massive national interest in the small nation. If for nothing else but their computer chip factories, they can keep not only the US but much of the world going. If they should fall under the full weight of the Chinese regime, we would lose out on a lot here in the US.