Is Beijing trying to create ‘new status quo’ by sending balloons over Taiwan?

Published February 12, 2024
  • Island’s defence ministry says 16 balloons have crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait since Friday
  • Taipei analysts say it’s part of an effort to eliminate the de facto boundary and squeeze Taiwan’s air space
The passage of a growing number of balloons from mainland China over Taiwan suggests Beijing is doubling down on efforts to deny the island jurisdiction over its airspace and deny the de facto boundary between them, according to Taipei-based analysts.

The Taiwanese defence ministry said that since Lunar New Year’s Eve on Friday, 16 balloons from the mainland had crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait, a notional midway point between self-governed Taiwan and mainland China.

A record eight balloons crossed the line on Friday, the highest number detected since the ministry started issuing notifications of balloon sightings on December 8.


RELATED: Taiwan reports more Chinese balloons over Taiwan Strait

Chinese and Taiwanese printed flags are seen in this illustration taken, April 28, 2022. Picture taken April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Published February 12, 2024
TAIPEI, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Sunday it had detected eight Chinese balloons crossing the Taiwan Strait in the previous 24 hours, of which five flew across Taiwan, the second day in a row is has reported a large number of balloons.
Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory despite the strong objections of the government in Taipei, has complained since December about the balloons, saying they are a threat to aviation safety and attempt at psychological warfare.
In its daily report on Chinese military activities, Taiwan’s defence ministry said it spotted the first balloon on Saturday morning and the last one mid-afternoon, having spotted the same number of balloons on Friday.
Five crossed the northern and central part of Taiwan, according to a map provided by the ministry.
China’s defence ministry did not answer calls seeking comment on Sunday. Both China and Taiwan are currently celebrating the Lunar New Year holiday, the most important festival in the Chinese-speaking world.



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