- Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a country in East Asia, and is the largest land mass between Japan and the Philippines at the junction of the East and South China Sea in the north western Pacific Ocean. The island was first mentioned in Chinese records in 239 CE when an emperor sent an expeditionary force to explore the area. Then Taiwan was administered by China’s Qing dynasty from 1683 to 1895.
- The Qing dynasty had to surrender Taiwan to Japan in 1895 after it lost in the First Sino-Japanese War. After World War II, Japan surrendered and relinquished control of territory it had taken from China. The Republic of China (ROC) which was one of the victors in the war began ruling Taiwan with the consent of its allies, the US and the UK.
- Following the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the ROC government retreated from the mainland as the Communists proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The KMT (Kuomintang) retreated to Taiwan and declared Taipei the temporary capital of the ROC. For many years, the ROC and PRC each continued to claim in the diplomatic arena to be the sole legitimate government of “China”.
- In 1971, the United Nations expelled the ROC and replaced it with the PRC. Since then the number of countries that recognize the ROC government diplomatically has fallen drastically to about 15. By the 1980s Taiwan relaxed rules on visits and investments in China. In 1991, it proclaimed that the war with the People’s Republic of China was over.
- China proposed the so-called ‘one country, two systems’ option, which it said would allow Taiwan significant autonomy if it agreed to come under Beijing’s control. Taiwan rejected the offer and Beijing insisted that Taiwan’s ROC government is illegitimate – but unofficial representatives from China and Taiwan still held limited talks.
- In 1979, the United States established formal diplomatic relations with the PRC. At the same time, it severed its diplomatic ties and abrogated its mutual defense treaty with the ROC. Officially, the US acknowledges the “One-China” policy, which recognizes only one Chinese government in Beijing and has formal ties with Beijing rather than Taipei.
- But Washington’s actions have been that of strategic ambiguity where it has proclaimed that it would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan. The US has also pledged to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons. Beijing has repeatedly urged Washington to stop selling weapons and cease contact with Taipei.
- The Trump administration had increased the arms trade to Taiwan which escalated tension between China-Taiwan and the Biden administration is continuing the weapons trade with Taipei. The issue of Taiwan has strained the relations between the US and China.
- As a part of India’s Act East Foreign Policy, India has sought to cultivate extensive ties with Taiwan in trade and investment as well as developing co-operation in science & technology, environment issues and people-to-people exchange .For instance, the India-Taipei Association (ITA) and Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre (TECC) in New Delhi.
- Since 1949, India has accepted the One China policy that accepts Taiwan and Tibet as part of China. However, India uses the policy to make a diplomatic point, i.e., if India believes in “One China” policy, China should also believe in a “One India” policy.
- The visit by US speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan is not being well received by China. It has sparked intense tensions between the two powerful countries- China and US as China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province.
- The US-Taiwan relations are fueling the military assertiveness of China in the Taiwan Strait. Such conflict has the potential to lead to a US-China confrontation.
- The cross-strait tensions can have a negative impact on Taiwan’s vital semiconductor chip manufacturing industry. Companies in Taiwan were responsible for more than 60 percent of the revenue generated by the world’s semiconductor contract manufacturers in 2020.
- Taiwan Strait is one of the major global trade routes with almost 20% of global trade passing through the strait. Any military activity between China-Taiwan will disrupt the global supply chain creating a crisis on the international stage.
Curated by- Jeffrey
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