Strait and Narrower?: Beijing’s Flight Paths, Taiwan’s International Space, and Regional Security

Jacques deLisle, Scott Kastner, Wojtek Wolfe, Thomas J. Shattuck

| Foreign Policy Research Institute, 1528 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA, US, 19102

Last month, China adopted new civilian aircraft flight paths over the Taiwan Strait, near Taiwan-controlled islands, without consulting Taiwan’s government.  Several months earlier, Beijing began dispatching military aircraft to circumnavigate Taiwan.  In 2017, China sent its aircraft carrier through the Strait en route to missions in the South China Sea.  These actions have raised alarm in Taiwan.  They have increased friction over security-related issues in a cross-Strait relationship already strained by other developments initiated by Beijing since Tsai Ing-wen became president in Taiwan, including suspension of Taiwan’s participation in the annual World Health Assembly meeting, shifts in diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing by two of the small cohort of states with formal relations with Taiwan, and the extradition of Taiwanese criminal suspects to the Mainland, rather than Taiwan.

What do the most recent developments reveal about the state of cross-Strait relations?  What do they portend for the future?  What are the implications for regional security and U.S. policy?