Taiwan has been building closer relations with the U.S. recently, raising the ire of China.
Last week on Friday and Saturday, Chinese aircraft crossed the mid-line and entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, prompting the island to scramble jets to intercept them. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called China a threat to the entire region. Taiwanese and Chinese combat aircraft typically do not cross the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait and the rule is unofficially observed by both sides.
“If (the visit) was a red line, we’d be seeing more than Chinese flights across the Taiwan median line, we might be seeing potentially missiles or something a little bit more more destabilizing,” said Broderick.
However, with “a lot” of orange lines crossed recently, the question now is: “how many of those cumulatively become a red line?” she added. “And that’s something that really only Beijing at this point knows.”
“The Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China’s territory,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Monday, according to an official transcript. He added that the “so-called” mid-line of the Taiwan Strait does not exist.
Washington has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is the island’s most powerful international backer and largest arms supplier.
Broderick said China’s aggressive stance toward Taiwan present a rising risk that is “concerning and worth watching.”
In the run-up to the U.S. presidential election, Washington may take more action with regard to Taiwan to further anger Beijing amid U.S.-China tensions, said Broderick.
Immediately after the election, even if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden were to win the election, the Trump administration still has a few months before the new president is sworn in to change the status quo, she noted.
So China’s recent actions are a “warning to the Trump administration and the Tsai administration over what they could possibly do in this time period.”