In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, we are joined by Mr. Kenneth W. Allen, Mr. Gerald C. Brown, and Mr. Thomas J. Shattuck to discuss China’s People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) flight incursions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). They first define the PLA’s incursions as a tactic for China to undermine Taiwan’s sovereignty and explain how such actions impact China and Taiwan’s policy goals. They reveal that the PLA launches these incursions to serve as punishment and intimidation when it is dissatisfied with Taiwan’s policies or engagement with the international community. Additionally, they note that these sorties are far from replicating the amount of air power or coordination that China would need to launch an invasion of Taiwan. They assert that while these incursions reveal the PLA’s growing air capabilities, there is still a long way to go, and China has yet to train the way it intends to fight. However, they also point out that it is likely future PLA incursions will grow in sophistication as China sees the importance of air superiority in the Ukraine conflict. Lastly, they assess that there is no evidence so far that China is taking advantage of current US and European attention on the Ukraine crisis to significantly increase military pressure on Taiwan.
Kenneth W. Allen served 21 years in the United States Air Force as a Chinese and Russian linguist and intelligence officer, and as the assistant air attaché in Beijing from 1987 to 1989. From 2017 to 2019, he served as a research director for the US Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute. Gerald C. Brown is a defense analyst, researching nuclear deterrence, the People’s Liberation Army, and Indo-Pacific security. Previously, he spent six years in the US Air Force working in nuclear security operations. Thomas J. Shattuck is the Future of the Global Order: Power, Technology, and Governance Program Manager at Perry World House. He is the former Deputy Director of the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), where he was also a Research Fellow.