Taiwan is a key disputed state geographically positioned in the outskirts of mainland Peoples Republic of China. The Taiwan Strait separate the mainland with the Island nation of Taiwan. The relations between Mainland China (Peoples Republic of China) and Taiwan (Republic of China) and resolving the peculiar Taiwan status has evolved into being a potential trigger to US-China war in future. China firmly opposes any foreign intervention against its “One China Policy”. China has a stance of Taiwan being its integral part.
Historically the roots of the disputed nature of Taiwan in the international arena lie in history. Upon the ending of Chinese Communist revolution in 1949 and as Chinese Communist Party were declared the significant victors; the adversary of Chinese Communist Party led by Mao Zedong were the Kuomintang Party (KMT) led by Chiang Kai Shek. After a humiliating defeat to the KMT they found refuge in neighboring Taiwan and established themselves in Taiwan afterwards. Chiang Kai Shek and his Son Chiang Ching kuo ruled as a dictatorial regime over Republic of China (Taiwan) from 1949 till the late 1980’s. When Chiang and his family died. The ending of the dictatorial rule resulted in a need that democracy must be introduced in Taiwan and so it went. Along the KMT party another party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) emerged as contenders of Taiwan’s Presidency. The Democratic Party also happens to be the current regime in Taiwan. Presidency of Taiwan is under the leadership of first ever female President of Taiwan i.e. Tsai Ing-Wen.
China endorses reunification of Chinese land by adhering One China Policy. Macau and Hong Kong are under an incentive of being Special Administrative Region (SAR). China also views Taiwan in its reunification designs and as an integral part of Mainland China
The Taiwan Dispute is turning into a fiasco between the United States and China at the global level. Well, United States certainly has some interests that extend far beyond its geographical borders. It can be believed that the recent visit of United States Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi has significantly made evident that Taiwan is a matter of Interest for the United States, especially the geo-political and geo-economic interests of United States in the region of South China Sea, Indo-Pacific and most importantly in deterring China in its neighborhood.
Washington had maintained a healthy “unofficial relationship” before the Nancy Pelosi visit but Beijing views the visit of a high-level US Official diverging with the United States historical stance of respecting One China Policy by neither sponsoring nor taking part in any unilateral change in status of Taiwan as part of Mainland China.
The recent Nancy Pelosi visit is first of its kind in at least 25 years where a US lawmaker has taken a trip to Taiwan and expressed solidarity with Taiwan and its territorial integrity. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stressed her visit was focused on primarily three things.
First is issue of (global and Taiwan’s) security. Secondly on improving trade between United States and Taiwan, third motive was improving governance issues. But realistically it seems a major move to deter China by showcasing US Congressional support. I believe another key factor may be of possibly discussing American weapon support in order to ensure self-security of island nation as a weak army can leave Taiwan in a threat of possible invasion by Mainland in future.
The Democratic government currently in power in Taiwan has also attracted the Flag bearer of Western Liberal Democracy. The continuation of democracy in Republic of China (Taiwan) and Opposition by Taiwan to reunify with China by not being a beneficiary of in play One China two-system policy serves United States interests in best possible way. Hence, Pelosi’s 2nd August 2022 visit exemplifies United States as a strategic partner of Taiwan in contemporary times, apart from being a key economic partner as well.
Taiwan’s importance at global level is also due to the fact that Taiwan is the worlds’ largest semi-conductor chips producer and exporter. The rapid modernization in all domains in the current era from technology to automobiles, electronic devices etc. semi-conductor chips are crucial in all modern gadgets, and any effort of de stabilizing Taiwan’s security would impact Taiwan’s economy that would have impact on all major world economies (Prominently United States of America) reliant on Taiwanese semi-conductor chips resulting in a possible global chip shortage.
The People’s Republic of China (mainland China) has strongly condemned the recent visit of Nancy Pelosi, China views the visit as a tilt in US respecting One China Policy with respect to Taiwan. China’s dissatisfaction over the visit led China to launch an all-out military drill near Taiwan straits and showed its resentment over the US Official visit to Taiwan. China had proposed Taiwan of adopting a “One China, two system policy”; Taiwan has shown reluctant behavior in adopting such a system. Currently Taiwan has its own socio-economic bodies, governing institutions including a Uni-cameral legislative body, but in several international governing bodies for the likes of Olympics Taiwan is officially regarded as the “Chinese Taipei” and not Taiwan. It is one of the examples that become a source of distress for many Pro-Taiwanese.
The current states that are at the receiving end of the One China Two Systems are the Hong Kong and Macau. The sovereignty agreement between Macau and China is due to last for fifty years (1999-2049), up until 2049 this agreement ensures Macau as an integral part of Peoples Republic of China. The status of Macau and Hong Kong is as special administrative regions (SAR). The peaceful relations between Macau and Mainland China may lead to renewing of their agreement. Hong Kong also administers through this system having separate functioning organs, economy, legislation, currency etc. The One China two systems have proved beneficial for Macau and Hong Kong. Taiwan under current pro-democratic and pro-independence leadership of Tsai Ing-Wen are not likely to Unify with Mainland China anytime soon. Hence, a polarized scenario is emerging.
ROLE OF QUAD and AUKUS:
The formation of military alliances and conducting joint military drills by United States and its allies in South China and Indo Pacific region has led to rising tensions between China and United States. Increasing US support for Taiwan has enraged China to conduct military exercises in close proximity of Taiwan just days after Pelosi’s visit concluded. China had even threatened to shoot down Pelosi’s plane if it had landed. But thankfully it did not happen.
The geo-strategically significant Military activities (drills) in leadership of United States are being conducted under the emblem of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) or the recently formed Australia, United Kingdom, United States nexus (AUKUS). The military drills and joint ventures are aimed at putting off China from its rampant economic growth. United States would maintain its presence in the region to counter any Chinese unilateral action on Taiwan and China also would resist any sort of a foreign interference in Taiwan’s status, as it perceives it as its sovereign part.
A POSSIBLE WAR?
The possibility of a war on Taiwan between US and China is grim. But if China remains discontented by foreign intervention in matters related to independence of Taiwan or United States adopting anti-One China Policy measures then chances are that a direct conflict between China and United States may break out. China and US (both being top two economies of world) would not prefer the rationale to go at war against each other. However, if United States keeps pressuring China in its backyard the region of East Asia would go into turmoil and would have devastating effect on World supply chain. A war (which seems less likely) is not favored for China so we may see threat strategies in application in South China Sea, Taiwan Straits and East Asian region.