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Taiwan and China: What are the ADIZ and the midline?

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China made incursions beyond the middle line and into the defense zone of Taiwanduring the maneuvers that he launched after the visit to the island of the president of the House of Representatives of USA, Nancy Pelosi.

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Both concepts, unusual, are different from the airspace of a country.


Several states have established a so-called air defense identification zone (ADIZ), notably the United States, Canada, South Korea, Japan and China.

ADIZ is much broader than airspace and was designed to give a country more time in the process of identifying a potentially hostile aircraft.

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East Asia has a multitude of overlapping ADIZs, which shows how sensitive this region is.

Until recently, the military strategies of China and Taiwan consisted of staying out of the neighbor’s aerial identification zone, despite episodic incursions in times of tension.

The situation evolved two years ago, when the Chinese communist government increased its pressure on the autonomous island, which it considers part of its territory and which it hopes to recover one day, by force if necessary.

Last year, Taiwan recorded 969 Chinese fighter jet incursions into its ADIZ, according to an AFP tally, more than double the 380 cases recorded in 2020.

Before this week’s military exercises, Taiwan recorded 626 incursions since the beginning of the year (+70% compared to the same period of the previous year).

Those raids put pressure on the Taiwanese military, which has suffered a series of deadly accidents in recent years.

the middle line

The median line is an unofficial but so far generally accepted border, halfway between the coasts of mainland China and those of Taiwan.

It is located in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, barely 130 kilometers in its narrowest place.

It was conceived during the Cold War, to delimit and reduce the risks of confrontation between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (official name of Taiwan), where in 1949 the nationalist troops defeated in the Chinese civil war settled.

No agreement or treaty has consolidated its status. But over the decades, it has kept the Taiwanese and Chinese armies at arm’s length.

During periods of heightened tension, Chinese ships or planes crossed the line, drawing recriminations from Taiwan.

But midline “violations” used to be less frequent than ADIZ raids, as they were considered more provocative.

In the last two years, Chinese officials have publicly declared that according to them such a median line never existed.

In this week’s exercises, it has been reported that Chinese forces crossed the median line several times.

Taiwan recorded 49 Chinese air raids on its ADIZ on Wednesday and Thursday, 44 of them beyond the median line.

Taiwan’s military said Friday that Chinese warships also crossed the median line, without giving further details.

Source: Gestion

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