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What Motivates China And Taiwan’s Conflict? Know The Causes, The Background, And The Current Situation

Story Highlights
  • In Taiwan's parliament, students and activists demonstrated against China's expanding control over Taiwan.
  • 2014 saw the movement begin as a result of a contentious trade deal.

Conflicts between China and Taiwan have historically been of great concern to both Taiwan and the rest of the globe. Learn everything there is to know about their interactions, the role of the US, and how the tensions affect the rest of the world.

The issue at hand in the confrontation between China and Taiwan is Taiwan’s political status. The conflict began in 1945, with the transfer of control over Taiwan from Japan to the Republic of China following the Second World War, and the subsequent split between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) as a result of the Chinese Civil War.

Taiwan is a country on an island. The “first island chain” includes it.

Some of the first island chain’s territories are friendly to the US. These US-friendly regions are very significant from a foreign policy standpoint for the US.

China’s southeast coast lies around 100 miles away from the island nation of Taiwan.

Taiwan currently has a unique constitution. The population of the nation is democratically elected, and there are about 300,000 active military personnel.

Simply put, the dragon views the island country as a breakaway province that the latter seeks to subdue.

President Xi Jinping of China stated that “reunification with Taiwan must be realised” and that if necessary, force would be used to achieve this goal.

If China conquers Taiwan, it will also have enormous control over the global computer chip market.

Taiwan was initially totally ruled by China. Initiating its rule over it at that time was the Qing dynasty.

In contrast, after losing the first Sino-Japanese War, China ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895.

After Japan was defeated in the Second World War, China once again regained sovereignty of Taiwan in 1945.

Then, mainland China entered a civil war, which altered the situation. The war was fought between the Mao Zedong-led Communist Party and the Chiang Kai-shek-led nationalist government.

Unexpectedly, the Communist Party grabbed control of Beijing and won the war in 1949.

The vanquished party, headed by Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang nationalist party, has since relocated to Taiwan. They ruled the island for a very long time. It has played a significant role in the island nation’s history.

Advocates for China assert that Taiwan has always been a part of their country. It makes its case stronger by bringing up this history,

Taiwan, however, has never agreed with this assertion.

Taiwan claims it was never a part of either the Chinese state that emerged after the 1911 revolution or the contemporary Chinese state founded by Mao in 1949.

Today, Taiwan is regarded as an independent nation by more than 13 nations.

Due to China’s intense diplomatic pressure on other nations, fewer nations recognise the island as a sovereign state or make any other indication that they do.

Some experts claim that if China conquers Taiwan, the former will gain more independence to project its power across the western Pacific.

Furthermore, China might put the American military bases in jeopardy if this takeover occurs, especially those on the island territories.

China, however, disputes any bad intents and insists that its goals are wholly benign.

China-Taiwan Relations

Taiwan loosened its restrictions on investments and travel to China in the 1980s. Furthermore, Taiwan declared that the war with China was concluded in 1991. All of these actions improved the ties between the two countries.

The “one nation, two systems” proposal was then put up by China, which would grant Taiwan significant autonomy in exchange for its agreement to submit to Beijing’s rule. Taiwan, however, declined the offer. China maintained that the ROC government in Taiwan was not genuine.

Taiwan bravely chose Chen Shui-bian to lead the country in 2002. The president openly supported “independence,” as did his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

In 2004, Mr. Chen was re-elected. The “anti-secession law,” which asserted China’s authority to employ “non-peaceful means” against the island nation Taiwan in the event that it attempted to split from China, was passed by China a year later.

Then, in 2008, Ma Ying-jeou succeeded Mr. Chen, and the president made an effort to normalise relations by signing economic pacts.

Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s current president, was chosen in 2016.

Beijing increased pressure on multinational corporations after this election had been going on for two years. These businesses were threatened by China with having to list Taiwan as a part of China on their websites. If the businesses don’t concur, they won’t be allowed to conduct business in China.

On the other hand, Ms Tsai won again in 2020 with an outstanding 8.2 million votes. Here, in Hong Kong, there was massive unrest against China’s growing influence.

China, with the intent to strengthen Beijing’s assertion, implemented a national security law in Hong Kong in the same year.

China spends the second most money on bolstering its defence behind the United States. Its defence capabilities cover a wide range of defence innovations, such as aircraft, missile technology, and naval power.

According to experts, Taiwan can hinder some Chinese attacks and limit damage, but it will require the support of its friends.

The United States emerges as a significant glimmer of optimism. Taiwan is the recipient of US weaponry sales.

Is There Any Hope For Taiwan?

China primarily uses military force to carry out its “reunification” agenda. It goes without saying that China is quite proud of its superior military strength. China has a substantial advantage over Taiwan in terms of military power.

Washington continues to adhere to its “strategic ambiguity” strategy, which suggests that the US purposely takes a neutral position on whether or not it should support Taiwan.

The “One-China policy” is upheld by the United States on the diplomatic front. In accordance with the policy, Beijing is home to only one Chinese government.

So, rather than the island nation of Taiwan, the United States has diplomatic relations with China. However, the United States also promises to provide Taiwan with protective equipment in the event of any military assaults.

However, given President Biden’s response in Washington, the American position on the matter is unclear. When asked in May if the United States would militarily defend Taiwan, the president responded with a “Yes.”

The visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, has negatively altered some aspects of the relationship between the US and China. The visit is deemed “very risky” by Beijing.

Relations between Washington and Beijing are strained as a result of the rising tensions brought on by the visit.

Following US Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China conducted extensive military drills nearby the island nation and launched ballistic missiles made by Dongfeng.

Chinese forces launched 11 Dongfeng ballistic missiles close to Taiwan’s northeast and southwest shores.

The People’s Liberation Army is believed to have conducted its greatest missile test in decades close to Taiwan’s shores.

On August 7, the drills were scheduled to finish, but China has not yet made the decision to do so. The nation kept up its military exercises even the following day, on August 8th.

2021

Last year, China launched military aircraft in Taiwan’s Air Defense Zone in an effort to significantly boost the pressure on Taiwan. For the purpose of identifying, observing, and controlling foreign aircraft for national security, this zone has been self-declared.

Taiwan And The Rest Of The World

Taiwan is a very important country to the world, even though only 13 nations recognise it as a sovereign state.

One of the major suppliers of computer chips used in laptops, game consoles, watches, and mobile devices worldwide is Taiwan.

An estimate places the market share of Taiwanese business Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company at more than 50%. It goes without saying that Taiwan dominates the world’s semiconductor manufacturing.

According to a study done in 2021 by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation, the people of Taiwan are not particularly disturbed despite the intense tensions between the two countries.

Additionally, the majority of people do not believe that there would be a military clash between the countries.

Furthermore, the majority of Taiwanese individuals identify as Taiwanese. Their strong sense of national identity reflects their patriotism for the nation.

Research from the early 1990s indicates that fewer people now identify as Chinese or as belonging to both China and Taiwan, indicating that more people now feel themselves to be completely Taiwanese.

However, some Taiwanese are concerned about their country’s economic dependence on China. Another segment of Taiwanese citizens believes that developing stronger commercial ties with China will reduce the likelihood of a military invasion by that nation.

The “Sunflower Movement” is a crucial movement in this context, therefore don’t miss it. 2014 saw the movement begin as a result of a contentious trade deal. In Taiwan’s parliament, students and activists demonstrated against China’s expanding control over Taiwan.

Now, the KMT favours unification with China while the DPP, the current government, seeks formal independence.

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