Experts on Edge as Chinese Warplanes Circle Taiwan

( – China’s communist regime has launched a new intimidation campaign against Taiwan. Dozens of Chinese combat aircraft have been probing the democratic nation’s airspace. The latest bout of harassment comes as Taiwan has admitted American troops are operating on an island close to China, and US experts warn that China could invade Taiwan just two years from now.

On March 20, around 6 a.m. local time, groups of Chinese warplanes started entering Taiwanese airspace over the Taiwan Strait. Over the next 24 hours, 32 planes crossed the boundary line. Taiwanese sources say there was a mix of types, including combat jets, transport aircraft — which in wartime would be used to support an invasion force — and unmanned drones. Worryingly, 20 of them made their incursions after nightfall, possibly a sign China is training its pilots for a surprise attack.

At the same time, five Chinese warships were also operating around Taiwan. The highest daily number of Chinese intruders this year so far has been 33, in both January and February.

On March 21, Taiwanese defense official Chiu Kuo-cheng revealed that US special operations forces are operating on the Kinmen Islands, which belong to Taiwan but are less than four miles off the Chinese coast. Chiu said the troops are there as part of an exchange program to help Taiwanese forces increase their combat readiness.

Taiwan might need that help. Its relations with China have been slowly deteriorating as the communist regime becomes more aggressive. On March 20, Admiral John Aquino, the commander of the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command, warned that China is modernizing its armed forces rapidly, and is now spending around 16% of its total budget on its military.

The People’s Liberation Army is still no match for the US armed forces, but it doesn’t need to be — it just needs to be strong enough to prevent the US from interfering with an invasion of Taiwan. Unless we increase our own readiness, that point is likely just two or three years away.

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