The retired US military commander has argued Premier Xi Jinping is “sending a message” to President Joe Biden after Chinese warplanes mounted a large incursion into Taiwanese air space. The highly provocative move came amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea between Beijing and Taipei over maritime boundaries and over territorial rights. China does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty and wishes to see the island nation annexed under the “One China policy.”
General Keane told Fox News: “2020 was the largest incursions of Taiwan’s airspace that has ever occurred.
“And we now in 2021 obviously and that is increasing over 2020 this the largest amount of aircraft that have ever been flown into Taiwan’s air defence space.
“18 fighters, four bombers, and a couple of anti-submarine aircraft etcetera.
“So this is significant in the sense President Xi clearly is sending a message.”
DON’T MISS: World War 3 warning: India nuclear missile build-up puts China’s major cities in range
He continued: “Now who is this message being sent to?
“When he knows for a fact that intimidating and coercing Taiwan will not force their capitulation.
“To give up and join mainland China.
“He knows President Tsai won reelection on the basis of not doing that.”
The former four-star general added: “All these incursions do is stiffen Taiwan’s resolve.
“So what’s this message really about?
“I think it is two things one is to the Biden administration.
“I think they were quite pushed back by the Biden administration when they took a similar strong stand supporting Taiwan and also an anti-China stand that the Trump administration took.
Monday’s incursion marked the largest breach of Taiwan’s airspace by China since the island’s defence ministry began publicly reporting People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft.
Taiwan said the Chinese aircraft, including 18 fighters, entered its southwest air defence identification zone.
They claimed 14 Jian-16 fighter jets, four Jian-10s, four H-6K bombers, two Y-8 anti-submarine warfare planes and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft were sent overhead.
In a statement, the defence ministry explained their “air force sent its air patrol force to shadow them, issued radio warnings and deployed missiles to monitor their movements”.