The tug of war between China and Taiwan has been the talk of the town lately with escalating tensions.
The main conflict between the two is the issue of ‘reunification’. China’s President Xi Jinping has claimed to not force the unification. Nevertheless, it has been made clear that Taiwan has to become a part of China.
What is the geographical significance of Taiwan? Taiwan is an island only 100 miles away from the coast of China which is one of the main reasons why China sees it as a province and not an independent country.
Moreover, Taiwan’s link to US territories makes it even more geographically important. Therefore, China sees acquiring Taiwan as a gateway to advance their US foreign policy and become more strong as an economic power.
What is up with the notion of ‘reunification’? China and Taiwan were split during World War II when the two forces in power, nationalists and communists, were fighting for power. Communists held the flag in Beijing whereas Nationalists exercised control in Taiwan.
Since then, Taiwan has struggled for recognition from the world. Almost thirteen countries have seen Taiwan eye to eye and admitted its sovereignty. China, on the other hand, has been pressurizing the other countries to not recognize Taiwan as an independent state, or do anything that implies it.
With all said and done, relationships between China and Taiwan are worsening and not possibly getting resolved any sooner.
The most anticipated question here is will China invade Taiwan. The answer to this question is never a simpler one. There are several domestic risks involved in this potential war.
No one can deny the power of China’s growing economy and defence. China has stepped up its defence near Taiwan to put more pressure on it. Its military force is adequate to ace this war.
However, according to a report by ALJAZEERA on 13 Dec 2021, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry says a full Chinese invasion of Taiwan with troops landed and ports and airports seized would be very difficult to achieve due to problems China would have in landing and supplying troops.
Speaking of Taiwan’s strategy to tackle the problem at hand, if the reunification attempts by China stay limited to non-military means, Taiwan has ample chances to win.
The nation’s military has the advantage of the Taiwan Strait is a natural moat and can use joint intercept operations, cutting off the Communist military’s supplies, severely reducing the combat effectiveness and endurance of the landing forces.
However, in terms of a full-fledge military war, China will dwarf off Taiwan’s defence.
In terms of personnel on duty, Taiwan only has a fraction of those of China. They might not be able to win but slow down China’s attempts to take over. Diplomatically speaking, the US as per its “one-China” policy would reside with Beijing and not with Taiwan.
At the same time, the US sells its arms to Taiwan therefore, their formal policy of “strategic ambiguity” prevails.
According to an NBC report by Reuters on Dec 4 2021, any move by China to invade Taiwan would have “terrible consequences,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday, adding that he hoped Chinese leaders would think very carefully about “not precipitating a crisis” across the Taiwan Strait.
This constant pull and push between China and Taiwan have almost become a new normal as the People’s Liberation Army fighter jets buzz the island democracy on a near-daily basis, and China’s military last month conducted exercises in the Taiwan Strait in response to “the erroneous words and deeds of relevant countries according to a report by Bloomberg.
Any attempts from China to attack Taiwan may have repercussions. The growing tension can precipitate a crisis that will wreak mayhem in the global economy as US and Japan will have to intervene. The communication gaps and mishaps between all these economic giants can reinforce the risk of havoc.
China itself has a lot to lose in this war as its economic dependence on Taiwan has significantly increased in past few years. China imports bulks of microchips and other high-tech products to throw their ring in the hat in competition with Europe and US. Earlier, China was using its dependency policy to put pressure on Taiwan.
Now the situation has reversed and China cannot stand the global market without trade with Taiwan. Taiwan, conversely, depends economically on China as a huge portion of tourism on the island is driven by Chinese people.
The economic picture of China is therefore not so rosy and the odds of winning by economic means are even lesser today. China’s military harassment is synonymous with China’s war of deliberation and according to experts of miscalculation too,
The US has been ensuring Taiwan’s defence by providing arms against China’s attempts to claim its status quo.
The current US president Joe Biden has been making efforts to make room for Taiwan in international affairs so that China leaves the democratically governed island alone.
What is deterring this catastrophic war is the fear of deaths, disaster defeat. Support for unification with the Chinese government is waning, the over-assertive approach of China needs revision to minimize the threat to the global economy and stabilize the foreign relationships.
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