U.S. Defense Secretary: China’s recent military flights in the Taiwan Strait look a lot like drills

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Saturday (Dec. 4) that China’s military flights near Taiwan appear to be “rehearsals,” and he did not say whether he expected Beijing to conduct such military missions.

Tensions have been rising across the Taiwan Strait in recent months, and Chinese military aircraft have been flying repeatedly near Taiwan for more than a year, which the Communist Party says belongs to it but which it has never governed for a day.

“I don’t want to speculate, but for sure …… it looks a lot like a drill,” Austin said while speaking at a conference in California.

Reuters reported that by definition, military training flights are maneuvers for potential action.

China has not ruled out the use of force against Taiwan, but Taiwan claims that it is an independent country that will defend freedom and democracy.

According to a report published by Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense on the dynamics of communist aircraft intrusion into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), more than 880 communist aircraft have disturbed Taiwan since 2021, double the annual combined number for 2019 and 2020.

In addition, a large Chinese Communist Navy nuclear submarine surfaced earlier this week to cross the Taiwan Strait to the north, raising concerns about the risk of an accidental military conflict in the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese Communist Party official media claimed that it had to float because the Taiwan Strait was too shallow.

U.S. Secretary of State: Beijing Fears “Catastrophic Decision” If It Commits Taiwan

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended the NEXT Virtual Global Conference organized by Reuters on Friday (3) to discuss the situation in the Taiwan Strait, saying that China has increased its pressure on Taiwan in recent years in an attempt to change the status quo, including through military provocations.

Blinken said it would be a “disastrous decision” for Beijing to commit Taiwan and that the United States is firmly committed to ensuring that Taiwan is capable of defending itself. He advised the Chinese Communist Party leaders to think very carefully about the issue and not to create a crisis that would have terrible consequences for many people and be detrimental to anyone, including China itself.

As for whether the United States would send troops if China (the Chinese Communist Party) commits a crime against Taiwan. Blinken said the United States has made clear over the years that it is committed to ensuring that Taiwan is capable of defending itself, whether by providing defense weapons or services, and that the United States will continue to honor that commitment.

Blinken praised Taiwan as a democracy and economy that is also innovative and has much to offer the world. He noted that the U.S. approach is based on its “One China Policy,” the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S.-China Communiqué and the Six Pledges, and continues to follow these principles.