As expected a flurry of threats and counter-threats have been issued between China, Taiwan, and the Untied States in the wake of Monday's largest ever Chinese military aircraft incursion of contested airspace near Taiwan, which saw 52 PLA jets - including bombers and reconnaissance planes - breach the self-ruled island's southwest air defense zone.
The hugely provocative formation marked four consecutive days of larger and larger PLA formations breaching the airspace, and comes the same day Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told an Australian broadcaster that Taiwan is preparing for war and wants Canberra to be more involved. The US Department of Defense responded to Monday's PLA sortie by calling out the "increasing military activities by China near Taiwan" as "destabilizing" which serve to "increase the rise of a miscalculation".
"Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region," the US statement said.
China's Foreign Ministry was in turn quick to blast the DoD remarks as "irresponsible":
Taiwan belongs to China and the US is in no position to make irresponsible remarks. The relevant remarks by the US side seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués and send an extremely wrong and irresponsible signal.
The foreign ministry statement further charged Washington with repeat and ongoing violations of the 'One China' policy, citing in particular "the launch of a $750 million arms sale plan to Taiwan, the landing of US military aircraft in Taiwan and frequent sailing of US warships across the Taiwan Strait," according to a statement posted to Chinese embassy websites.
Beijing vowed additionally to "crush" all attempts at independence. The most directly threatening part of the statement came as follows:
"Taiwan independence" leads nowhere. China will take all necessary measures to resolutely crush all attempts at "Taiwan independence". China has firm resolve and will to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
China flew 145 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone in past 4 days. Today marked most ever, 52. Four aircraft carriers now exercising in W Pacific — USS Ronald Reagan, USS Carl Vinson and HMS Queen Elizabeth. Japan’s carrier has U.S. F-35s aboard on first day new PM in office.— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) October 4, 2021
It called on Washington to immediately "correct its mistakes" rather than "undermine peace" across the Taiwan Strait.
Meanwhile Taiwan government statements are at the same time only growing more heightened in alarm and what will be taken in Beijing as bellicose threats: "We are determined to firmly defend our sovereignty and we have a full grasp of the Chinese military's activities," the foreign ministry said.
The government statement indicated leaders in Taipei are "actively communicating with friendly countries to jointly contain China's malicious provocations." It further blamed China as a the "chief culprit" in tensions and instability across the Taiwan Strait.
Chinese state media pundits are calling the ramped-up flights a "language Washington can understand"...
This is the language that Washington can understand the best. It's a response to the US' unreasonable accusation against China. pic.twitter.com/yzKn2xOy4x— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) October 4, 2021
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Bloomberg Live Blog notes the impact of Monday's ratcheting events in the region as follows:
"Taiwan is urging its friends to help as Chinese warplanes enter its air-defense-identification zone in record numbers, invoking its key role in global chip production and supply chains as a reason to keep the peace."
"The flybys coincide with holidays in China to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the People’s Republic’s founding, but are unlikely to be just a short-term escalation. That brings interest to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor index, which dropped 5.6% last week to cut the year’s gain to 17%."