After the end of Chinese military exercises, lessons of a week of crisis

8:03 PM, August 6, 2022

Was Saturday worse than Friday? No, given the number of Chinese planes escorted by Taiwanese fighters outside its airspace and even the center line that divides the strait in two. And the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense stated, on Saturday, that its fighters repelled the storming of 20 Chinese planes, compared to 49 the previous day. But the number of aircraft involved on both sides is still unprecedented and very impressive, and Taiwan can be proud of developing its combat fleet to the point of having more than 300 multirole aircraft.

Taiwan has realized that China’s aggressiveness is not just talk, and that military readiness exercises will become a daily routine

With its locally manufactured F-16s, Mirages and Ching-Kuos, Taiwan now faces the problem of a shortage of qualified pilots to maneuver an increasingly agile number of fighters. Ground-to-air artillery was also tested: launching missiles to deflect Chinese drones, and a backup Patriot missile to destroy China’s latest generation of out-of-range missiles as they flew over the main island before falling into the Pacific waters.

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But the biggest difficulty in the future will be above all political for the democratic authorities in Taipei. “Taiwan has realized that Chinese aggression is not just talk and that military readiness exercises will become the daily life of 23 million citizens.”, comments Philippe Le Curie, a China specialist and research associate at Harvard University. Si Taipei peut se flatter d’avoir obtenu le soutien des États-Unis avec la visite de Nancy Pelosi (bien qu’elle ait été controversée jusqu’au sein des cercles dirigeants de la sécurité national que américaine a marquee pointsé), Xi Jiné the last days. “China is still able to exploit this crisis to make the frequent crossing of the middle line of the strait a bite into the status quo that keeps Beijing and Taipei at bay.”analyzes Antoine Bondaz, Asia expert at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS).

The debate about the future of the island

The Americans, for their part, have proven that they do not succumb to intimidation and threats, and have even been able to revive the debate in the West about Taiwan’s future. Are we ready in France only to carry out evacuation plans for our citizens on site in the event of a sudden conflict in the region? »asks Antoine Bondaz. The answer to this question, he said, would not serve as a break to our Gaullist creed on the unity of China, but as a concrete proof that France is still a power in the Indo-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, this week’s crisis has caused damage that must be repaired. Such as Beijing suspending military contacts with Washington while the US Seventh Fleet continues its maneuvers in the region. Or, more seriously, restore the climate dialogue that China has blocked in response, at a time when the planet continues to burn.

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