Heed Napoleon’s words as China fancies its odds of taking Taiwan

The ongoing confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops along the Himalayan frontiers is serious, but pales in comparison with the situation across the Taiwan Strait. Over the weekend of 18-19 September, China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Navy (PLAN) flew 37 aircraft—including fighters and bombers—across the centre line that has served as the informal boundary between the mainland and Taiwan. One of the intruding pilots declared to Taiwanese defenders on the radio that “there is no median line in the Taiwan Strait.” Beijing’s intrusions coincided with and were certainly a reaction to a US state department official’s visit to Taipei. As an intimidatory tactic, China’s move is highly risky. One miscalculation by a pilot or an air defence operator could spark a conflict that could well draw in the United States and its allies into a bigger war.

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