In recent months, China has systematically increased its military exercises in at least five different areas off the coast of Taiwan. At the same time, the People’s Liberation Army of China has reportedly intensified attack simulations on the east coast of Taiwan, which is a significant missile base for the country. Beijing has also been holding simultaneous holding military drills in the South and East China seas as well as the Bohai Sea and the Yellow Sea, amid the ongoing tensions with the United States.
Experts have suggested that Beijing is expressing its anger against the increasing presence of the United States in Taiwan by conducting its military operations close to Taiwan’s borders. Evidently, these developments have heightened military pressures on Taiwan with Taipei huddling its soldiers every day in the past two weeks. Amid China’s growing military influence, the United States has extended its support to Taipei with recent visits of senior government officials to Taiwan and large arms sales.
For decades, China has been claiming Taiwan at its territory, vowing to capture the East Asian island nation one day. While Taiwan has been enjoying de facto independence since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, this new aggression from the Chinese side has raised alarming concerns for both Taipei and Washington. For Beijing to pass a national security law in Taiwan – just like it did in Hong Kong in June 2020 – it will first have to take military control of the island nation.
Even the US is under pressure to adopt a more proactive policy to safeguard Taiwan and respond to China’ aggression. Significantly, as US-China relations continue to deteriorate, the Trump administration has stepped up its diplomatic and military support to Taiwan. The US is not only the leading arms supplier to Taiwan, but has also become Taipei’s only ally and most important friend at a time when it is facing a massive threat from the communist-led Chinese government.
After her re-election to the office in January, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has made strengthening the country’s defence strategy a top priority. As per reports, the US is planning to sell as many as seven major weapons systems including drones and cruise missiles to Taiwan to boost up the country’s military capabilities. Even though Taiwan’s military is well-equipped and well-trained, it is still far behind the Chinese forces in terms of numerical superiority and advanced technology.