Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said Monday that China’s military may attempt to enter a contiguous area close to its territorial air and sea space this year as Taipei steps up its military cooperation with the United States and other countries.
Responding to questions in parliament, Chiu said Beijing has been looking for excuses to step up its military posture against Taiwan, including by “suddenly entering” the contiguous area of the island, which is 24 nautical miles from its shores.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the territorial sea of a State extends 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometers) beyond its coast. The contiguous zone is limited to 24 nautical miles (44.4 km) from its coast.
While Chinese military aircraft have regularly entered Taiwan’s self-declared air defense identification zone in recent years, Taiwan has not reported any incidents of Chinese forces entering its airspace or the adjoining site.
Chiu said Beijing’s excuses could include high-profile visits by senior foreign officials or increased military cooperation between Taiwan and other countries. He also referred to then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last August, which led to large-scale Chinese military exercises around the island.