During Krach’s September visit, China’s military sent 18 fighter jets and bombers into the Taiwan Strait as a warning. “Those who play with fire are bound to get burned,” said Senior Col. Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense. In the past, Chinese aircraft would cross the midline of the Taiwan Strait in pairs. This time, they came in much larger numbers from multiple directions.
Taiwan said in October that its fighters had warded off Chinese warplanes more than 4,100 times so far this year, up 129 percent from all of 2019. Taiwan’s navy has been dispatched more than 7,500 times, compared with less than 6,000 last year.
“Faced with Chinese communists’ saber-rattling and intimidations ... we should demonstrate our belief not to yield an inch of our territory and sovereignty,” said President Tsai Ing-wen during an air force base inspection in October.
Beyond Taiwan’s growing closeness to the United States, Tsai has also angered Beijing by openly supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists and welcoming them to Taiwan. Although Taiwan does not have a refugee law, it opened an office in July to help Hong Kong citizens apply for residency after Chinese Communist leaders imposed a restrictive national security law on the city. Taiwan granted residency to nearly 6,000 Hong Kongers last year and to nearly 4,000 in the first seven months of 2020.