Taiwan has reported a sharp increase in the number of Chinese military aircraft entering its Air Defense Identification Zone in recent months with a record 56 warplanes detected on October 4.
China has never ruled out the possibility of invading Taiwan and it has continued acquiring the military capability to do so. In recent years, it has modernized its military, introducing the J-20, an indigenous 5th generation stealth fighter. It has also commissioned two aircraft carriers along with several modern amphibious transport dock/landing vessels. Even though the likelihood of China taking Taiwan by force remains unclear, the military balance in the Taiwan Strait is firmly in China's favor. The following infographic provides an overview of that imbalance and is based on an annual U.S. government report.
One aspect which increasingly appears to be in Taiwan's favor however, is Joe Biden as United States president. Despite the White House scrambling to clarify his comments, Biden has twice in the last three months said that the U.S. would defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by China. The latest assurance for the island came as Biden was asked during a CNN town hall meeting on Thursday if the U.S. would come to the defence of Taiwan, responding: “Yes, we have a commitment to do that”.
While the United States is required by law to "support Taiwan’s self-defence", as described by a White House spokesperson after the latest Biden statement, the country has traditionally employed a policy of “strategic ambiguity” when it comes to adherence to the Taiwan Relations Act. Any explicit statement or action in favor of taking defensive action in the region would be a clear step away from this position. Biden also said on Thursday: “I don’t want a cold war with China. I just want China to understand that we’re not going to step back, that we’re not going to change any of our views.”