Context: China’s military sent 19 aircraft into Taiwan’s “air defence identification zone”, including several nuclear-capable bombers, on the eve of Taipei’s annual war games exercises.

Key Points

  • It can be seen as a message from Beijing to both Taipei and Washington on its posture on the Taiwan issue.
  • Beijing has in the past used its air force as a form of signalling, for instance recently dispatching fighters to coincide with visits of U.S. diplomats to Taiwan.
  • This latest show of force came as Taiwan said it had submitted an application to join the 11-nation CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade deal, days after China said it had formally applied to join the Pacific pact.

Background of China Taiwan Disputes

  • China claims Taiwan as its province, although both have been ruled separately since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 when the Kuomintang (KMT) and Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island.
  • Cross-straits ties have been strained in recent years with Beijing accusing the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen, who was re-elected for a second term last year, of pursuing “independence”.
  • Beijing has increasingly sought to push back against Taiwan seeking a presence in international bodies, wean away the few remaining countries that still maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, and deploy its aircraft and vessels with growing frequency, particularly in response to the presence of U.S. vessels in the straits.

Air patrol forces Deployed by Taiwan

  • Taiwan had deployed air patrol forces in response to the 19 PLA aircraft that had entered the Air Defence Identification Zone.
  • The PLA aircraft included 12 J-16s, two J-11s, bombers and anti-submarine aircraft.

Unofficial delegation

  • Taiwan is among the many issues that Beijing and Washington have recently clashed over.
  • The US administration sent an “unofficial” delegation to Taiwan in April this year as a show of support.
  • The Chinese Foreign Ministry hit out at the application of Taiwan to join the CPTPP.
  • As per China there is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.
    • It claimed the one-China principle is a universally recognised norm governing international relations and the consensus of the international community.
    • China firmly opposes all official interactions with Taiwan, firmly rejects Taiwan’s accession to any agreement or organisation of official nature. 

Related Facts


  • Stands for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • It is a trade agreement between 11 Pacific Rim nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
  • Between them, the club's constituents are home to around 500 million people and generate more than 13% of the world's income.
  • It offers greater access to each other's markets, and a pledge to eliminate or reduce 95% of import charges or tariffs. 

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