The tension between China and Taiwan intensifies societal unrest. According to an opinion poll based on Taiwanese data, published on August 16, 78.3% of people do not fear China’s military maneuvers, and 39% believe conflict with China is ‘somewhat likely.’ The most repeated question asked in Pakistan and international media is that whether China will invade Taiwan?
But what are the factors that have led to this friction between the two? In order to answer this question, it is imperative to look at the issue from a historic lens. Mainland China is divided into two parts People Republic of China (PRC) and Republic of China (ROC). A civil war broke out between Communist and Nationalist lasting from 1945 to 1949. Peoples Republic of China (PRC) won the civil war under Mao Zedong and defeated the nationalists as they fled to an island now called Taiwan.
Since the 1950s, China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and Taiwan has done the same over mainland China. Taiwan, ironically, claims China as a constituent country. Even though Taiwan is geographically 0.37% of China, and China’s population is 1.41 billion, Taiwan’s population is 23 million. China’s top strategic priority is to maintain Taiwan, and China will not attack Taiwan for whatever reason. President Xi said, “we want peaceful reunification of Taiwan”.
Taiwan is a country with a separate government from PRC, but it does not have the international recognition as accorded to PRC. The joint communique between PRC and the US “acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China” and “does not challenge that position.” It reaffirms the U.S. interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question. Hence the same principle has been the cornerstone of PRC relations with the entire world.
Taiwan built an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) to assure border monitoring, and any aircraft carrier or jet that has to fly through space must first get authorization, or it will be shot down. But China doesn’t care; as its fighter jets regularly fly over Taiwan without regard for the ADIZ. This infringement has multiplied numerous times by 2021. Taiwan’s defensive system is similar to a cyber or military castle, with several defense lines that are difficult to breach. According to Chinese intelligence, if China wishes to invade Taiwan, it will require a 1.2 million-strong army, as well as an air force and a naval force. China would never pay such a high price to attack Taiwan since most nations do not regard Taiwan as a separate entity from China.
According to reports, the United States has stated that it will come to Taiwan’s defense. We believe in a One China Principle, according to Biden. When questioned about Taiwan, Joe Biden responded flatly “Yes” to supporting Taiwan if China used military force to conquer Taiwan.
China adheres to its current defense theory of “unrestricted warfare,” which is based on Shashou-Jian. In which the opponent is unaware that he is at war and is defenseless. He is never afraid of being the target of the lethal weapon. He only discovers the truth when it is too late. Under the Shashou-Jian ideology, China is attacking the United States and its ally Taiwan. Because China cannot afford an open battle, it employs the Shashou-Jian strategy to win without fighting. China is at war with the United States in three areas: law enforcement, economic warfare, and cyber warfare.
Following the Shashou-Jian doctrine, China demonstrates its power to Taiwan while continuing its 166-billion-dollar commerce. Despite the breach of the ADIZ, Taiwan remains China’s largest investor. In 2019, 0.8 million Taiwanese visitors visited China. They have a large number of people who speak the same language.
We may also compare it to the annexation of Hong Kong, which is bordered by China, yet China waits for Hong Kong to reunify with China politically before invading or waging military operations.
The One China policy is the cornerstone of mainland China; no nation can negotiate with China if it does not embrace the One China policy. The base of China is located 160 miles from Taiwan, yet one of Taiwan’s islands, Kinmen, is just 12 kilometers long and has no military installations, but China has not invaded it. China has stated unequivocally that it will not spill the blood of its people to obtain the territory.
The arrival of Nancy Pelosi, the first high-level group visit in 25 years, has sparked a new issue. And China sees this visit as an attempt to undermine its One-China policy, which is why China is flexing its might to warn them about the Taiwan problem.
China conducted military maneuvers on six sides of Taiwan from August 6, after the arrival of 82-year-old American Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwan and the United States have a defense pact made in 1954 Sino-American to safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty in the event of an invasion, which was also reiterated by Nancy Pelosi, who stated that we will defend Taiwan. Japan has also warned that if China attempts to attack democratic Taiwan, it will protect it. The Chinese invasion will force key powers to go to war. The world considers it an impending danger to World War III. However, no missiles struck Taiwan’s territory. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on one side, “Those who play with fire will perish by it.” However, on the other side, they have a 615.2-billion-dollar trade pact with the United States. This circumstance is similar to Shashu- Jian doctrine.
It can thus be said that an armed conflict between the United States and China seems far from reality in the near-future, since the Ukraine-Russia crisis has affected the entire globe, small nations are in difficulty, Europe is hurting, and the world is not prepared to welcome another disaster. Furthermore, A poll in Taiwan finds that 67% of Taiwanese individuals identify as Taiwanese, whereas only 2.4% identify as Chinese. Moreover, each country has its philosophy, one democratic and the other communist. As a result, China’s military takeover of Taiwan will have long-term consequences.
The views expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Global Affairs.