OPINION / OBSERVER
PLA could send jets over Taiwan to defend sovereignty if US military jets fly over island
Published: Oct 24, 2020 01:15 PM

File photo:China Military



Early Saturday morning Beijing time, US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Tony Wickman, director of public affairs for US Pacific Air Forces, said the US Air Forces' original statement that an RC-135W spy plane had flown over the northern end of the island of Taiwan "was incorrect." Wickman's statement came after the island's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities had twice denied, on Wednesday and Friday, that the plane had flown over the island. 

This shows that both the US and the island of Taiwan realize the seriousness of such a flight. Whether or not the spy plane actually flew over the island, it should be kept in mind that US military aircraft are not allowed to fly over Taiwan. This is the bottom line. If concrete evidence ever shows that a US military aircraft flew over the island, I believe the People's Liberation Army (PLA) would respond firmly with operations such as sending fighter jets into airspace over the island to defend our country's territorial sky. If that were to occur, the military structure in the Taiwan Straits would be reshaped - and that would be an important move toward reunification. 

By seeking secession, DPP authorities must know they have been heading toward a dead end. The Chinese mainland has been conducting military operations in the Straits almost every day recently, creating unprecedentedly high pressure on DPP authorities, who are obviously extremely frightened. It would have been unthinkable for the Taiwan local authorities to twice deny a once confirmed US military operation involving the island. They really are frightened.

No matter the news is real of fake, a US military plane flying over the island of Taiwan would severely infringe on China's territorial airspace. This redline can't be budged. If the island dare disregard this redline, it will face a resolute and firm response from the Chinese mainland.

I believe the mainland has to prepare a series of plans that would punish the Taiwan authorities, including sending PLA jets on missions over the island. If US military jets can freely enter the airspace over the island of Taiwan, it can be well-reasoned that the PLA can send fighter jets to drive away US aircraft and defend national sovereignty. 

I don't believe the military on the island has the nerve to fire the first shot at a PLA aircraft. Taiwan military would face dire and immediate consequences if it did so. If the DPP authorities are willing to take such a reckless gamble, they should know they will not be spared. The PLA's recent exercises and reported deployment of DF-17 hypersonic missiles on the mainland's east coast are in preparation for an escalation in the cross-Straits situation. 

People on the mainland need to be patient and see our government and army destroy "Taiwan secession," force the DPP authorities to behave, and turn a new page in cross-Straits reunification. Times have changed. The Chinese mainland is extremely well prepared to oppose secession. The mainland's preparations for combat have greatly squeezed the room the DPP has to seek secession. They know they are already standing at the edge of a cliff. 

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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