Experts were waiting for an American reaction after the overflight of around thirty Chinese planes in the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ZADI): it did take place this Friday, June 24. The United States has deployed, in full tension with China, a reconnaissance plane P-8A Poseidon of the American navy. The latter flew over the Taiwan Strait to demonstrate “(the country’s) commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement quoted by CNN on Friday, June 24.
“The United States will continue to fly, navigate and operate wherever international law permits, including in the Taiwan Strait. By operating in this strait in accordance with international law, (we) respect the navigational rights and freedoms of all nations. The aircraft’s passage through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the statement read.
International waters versus Chinese jurisdiction
By this communication and this act, American officials therefore reiterate that the Taiwan Strait is indeed part of Taiwan’s ZADI and international waters. The command appeals to international law, according to which a state can navigate and fly over waters that extend beyond the limits of the territorial sea of another state. China, on the contrary, considers that the Taiwan Strait “is not international water”, a position repeated by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the Shangri-La conference. For Beijing, the area that separates Taiwan from mainland China is entirely within its jurisdiction.
This overflight comes three days after the deployment, on Tuesday June 21, of 29 planes of the Chinese air force in the self-proclaimed ZIDA of Taiwan. It was then the third operation with the largest number of Chinese aircraft conducted since the beginning of the year. In this way, Beijing maintains pressure on the island under democratic rule by carrying out frequent flights of warplanes in the ZIDA of the island. Although ruled separately for more than 70 years, the communist regime sees Taiwan as part of its own territory and threatens to use force to impose its sovereignty on the island. In recent months, tensions have been heightened since Washington pledged to support the island in the event of an attack from China.