By: Sarah Kirchberger

What is the the kernel of the issue?

The Chinese Air Force has been ratcheting up pressure on Taiwan by violating the Taiwanese Air Identification Zone (ADIZ) with increasingly larger numbers of combat aircraft (25 Chinese aircraft constituted the most recent incursion) at an increasing frequency. If these trends continue, Chinese air forces could improve their chances to conduct overwhelming operations against Taiwan as a prelude to direct military action to take over this thriving democratic nation.

Why is the issue important?

The growing scale of Chinese air force operations that violate Taiwanese airspace are helping to prepare the Chinese military for a forcible military takeover of Taiwan and are part of a psychological intimidation campaign. At present the military benefits seem to outweigh the political cost to China.

What is the recommendation?

The Biden administration—along with US allies and partners—should impose a tangible cost on China in terms of public shaming and increased international support for Taiwan to induce China to scale down these activities and reconsider their utility. The United States and other democratic partners of Taiwan should: 1) Raise global awareness of the increasing scale and aggressiveness of Chinese violations of Taiwanese airspace, e.g. by setting up a public monitoring mechanism as the basis for publicly calling them out, and communicate to China each time that military coercion of Taiwan is unacceptable; 2) In response to the enhanced threat, they should commit to helping Taiwan raise its capacity to respond by increasing training of Taiwanese Air Force personnel; and 3) Accelerate delivery of advanced military aircraft and anti-aircraft defenses to help enable Taiwan to defend itself against increased Chinese aggression and coercion.

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