IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


1st September, 2023 Geography

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An incident involving military activity between Taiwan and China in the Taiwan Strait.


  • Taiwan detected 11 Chinese military aircraft and 10 naval ships breaching the sensitive median line of the Taiwan Strait.
  • The breach occurred between 6 a.m. on Monday (Aug. 28) and 6 a.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 29).
  • One Harbin BZK-005 drone breached the median line in Taiwan's Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the northeastern sector.
  • The drone circled Taiwan and crossed the median line again in the southwest corner of the ADIZ, heading back towards China.
  • Two Chengdu J-10 fighter aircraft also entered the area's southwest corner.

Taiwan's Response

  • Taiwan scrambled its aircraft, naval ships, and land-based missiles to track Chinese military activity.
  • The response was aimed at monitoring and countering the PLA (People's Liberation Army) activity near Taiwan.

Increased Chinese Military Activity

  • Beijing had dispatched 362 military planes and 194 naval ships on operations near Taiwan earlier in the month.
  • In March alone, China sent 325 military aircraft and 101 naval vessels around Taiwan.
  • China has been increasingly using grey zone tactics, involving routine aircraft entry into Taiwan's ADIZ.

Grey Zone Tactics

  • Grey zone tactics involve efforts to achieve security objectives without resorting to direct and substantial use of force.
  • These tactics fall beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance, seeking to achieve objectives through unconventional means.


  • China has been engaging in heightened military activity near Taiwan since September 2020.
  • Taiwan responds to breaches of its airspace and ADIZ with defensive measures and tracking.

About Taiwan Strait

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  • The Taiwan Strait is a narrow body of water located between the island of Taiwan and the southeastern coast of China.
  • It has immense geopolitical significance due to its role in shaping the relationships and tensions between Taiwan, China, and the broader international community.

Geographical Location and Dimensions

  • The Taiwan Strait stretches approximately 180 kilometers (112 miles) in width at its widest point and narrows down to about 130 kilometers (81 miles) at its narrowest point.
  • It separates the island of Taiwan from the Chinese mainland's Fujian Province.

Historical Context

  • The strait's history dates back centuries and has been a vital maritime route for trade, cultural exchanges, and military activities.
  • Throughout history, control over the Taiwan Strait has been a point of contention between different dynasties and empires.

Modern Geopolitical Tensions

  • The Taiwan Strait is a focal point of tension between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, commonly referred to as Taiwan).
  • The PRC claims Taiwan as a part of its territory and seeks reunification under the "One China" policy.
  • The ROC maintains its own government, military, and economy, considering itself a sovereign state.

International Implications

  • The Taiwan Strait has garnered global attention due to its potential to trigger a significant conflict with far-reaching consequences.
  • The United States, in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, provides defensive weaponry and support to Taiwan, signaling its commitment to the island's security.

Cross-Strait Relations

  • Cross-Strait relations refer to interactions between the PRC and ROC.
  • Economic and cultural exchanges have increased over the years, but political tensions persist.

Peaceful Resolution Efforts

  • International organizations and countries advocate for peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue.
  • Diplomatic efforts aim to prevent conflicts and encourage dialogue between the parties involved.

Impact on Regional Stability

  • The stability of the Taiwan Strait has direct implications for regional stability in East Asia.
  • Neighboring countries closely monitor the situation and adapt their policies accordingly.

Economic Significance

  • The Taiwan Strait facilitates maritime trade routes for both China and Taiwan, contributing to their economies.
  • Ports along the strait are vital hubs for shipping and commerce.

Global Trade and Shipping Routes

  • The Taiwan Strait is part of crucial international shipping routes that connect the Pacific Ocean to the South China Sea.

Tourism and Cultural Exchanges

  • Both sides of the strait promote tourism and cultural exchanges, allowing people to connect and learn about each other's societies.

Environmental Concerns

  • Environmental challenges, such as pollution and maritime accidents, can affect the strait due to heavy shipping and naval activities.


Q) Discuss the geopolitical significance of the Taiwan Strait in shaping East Asian dynamics and its implications on regional stability and international relations. (150 words)