Senior US politician Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week has inflamed tensions between the United States and China. Why is Taiwan a hot topic in the relationship between the two superpowers?
In the late 1940s, the Nationalists lost the Chinese Civil War to the Communists. They then fled to the island of Taiwan off the southeast coast of China. There they established their own state called the Republic of China. The mainland is known as the People’s Republic of China.
While Taiwan enjoys a great deal of autonomy, the much larger China has a great deal of influence. The Communist government does not recognize Taiwan as its own country. The island is considered a province of China, and separatist movement as rebels.
Chinese President Xi Jinping often cites the “unification of China” as the only possible solution to the situation. Plus, Xi always leaves NB That China would oppose all other options by force if necessary.
China has already shown that it is ready to intervene militarily to maintain its control over Taiwan. Beijing often allows fighter jets to fly through or near Taiwan’s airspace. Military exercises are often conducted in the South China Sea.
This week, China once again ramped up its military activities in the region. Beijing cuts off trade routes to Taiwan and summoned the US ambassador. Indeed, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that “anyone who insults China will … punish“.
Isolated Taiwan has few allies
Under the “one China” policy, the Beijing government forbids countries to have relations with both the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China. Dealing with China is impossible for countries that do the same with Taiwan.
Therefore, in order not to offend China, most countries of the world do not recognize Taiwan as an independent country. The Netherlands also does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. countries that have diplomatic relations, disconnected It is under pressure from Beijing.
Because of all this is Taiwan He approves From support from the United States. The Americans also do not have formal diplomatic relations with the island, but they supply them with weapons. Officially, they do this so that Taiwan can “defend itself”.
The Chinese government said late last year:drastic measures“Do not turn away from Taiwan independence. Beijing has warned that the delicate situation around Taiwan may get out of control Walk by “external interference”.
In addition to Taiwan, it has also issued a strong warning to all countries that may want to help the island. The boiling point could mean an armed conflict between China and the United States. The question is whether the Americans will allow it to get to this point.
It is unclear whether the United States is ready to fight for Taiwan
The big question is whether the Americans are prepared to intervene militarily if China invades Taiwan. By doing so, the United States would risk a (nuclear) war with China. The current US policy is already causing great discomfort to China. Beijing says US support for Taiwan is one of the main reasons for strained relations between major powers.
US President Joe Biden said at the end of October CNN He would feel “obligated” to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack. He even said last May that the United States would be ready for that hnf To be used if the island is attacked. The White House rushed those words both times to weaken. The spokesman stressed that there are no plans to deploy forces. As a result, it remains unclear what the United States would do if China attacked Taiwan.
The United States and China basically do not want an armed conflict with each other. Many Americans fear a Repetition Vietnam War. That war was officially between North and South Vietnam, but in the background also between the great powers that provided support. China and the Soviet Union supported North Vietnam, while the South received assistance from the United States and its allies.
The Vietnam War ended in one of the worst defeats ever for the United States, which withdrew all of its forces in 1975. Americans were painfully reminded of Vietnam in Kabul last August. The rapid and chaotic evacuation of US personnel from the Afghan capital very much like Leaving from Saigon 46 years ago. Many Americans afraid that a conflict or perhaps a war with China in Taiwan would have the same humiliating outcome.
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