- Borislav Ivanov
Tensions between China and Taiwan are rising
At the end of the Chinese civil war, which ended with a victory for the communists, the Nationalists retreated to the island of Taiwan, carrying with them a lot of resources, money, and historical artefacts. As the newly consolidated People’s Republic of China failed time and time again to successfully invade and capture Taiwan and the smaller islands, which surround it, this allowed the Republic of China to continue its existence. Both countries claim that there is only one China and one rightful Chinese government.
After decades of military rule, in the 1990s Taiwan officially became a flourishing democracy with an increasingly powerful economy. But no matter how strong the Taiwanese economy gets the economy of the PRC is still the second in the world. This creates a ton of complications for Taiwan. Why would it complicate things if both are sovereign countries? The issue is political. A country can only officially recognize either the People’s Republic of China or the Republic of China. You cannot recognize both as independent countries. Therefore, the vast majority of countries recognize the PRC, as their economies usually depend on it. Only 15 countries currently recognize Taiwan, and none of them is a major power - Belize, Guatemala, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland and Tuvalu.
Since the Nationalists escaped to Taiwan, the PRC has made it its long-term mission to capture the island and bring it under their rule. For decades, this was impossible, as Taiwan is heavily militarized, and the Taiwan Strait is notoriously difficult to go across. However, in more recent years, the PRC has been increasing pressure on the ROC immensely, letting military jets fly over its exclusive airspace, passing through its maritime exclusive economic zone, televising military drills, where the Chinese army capture mockups of official Taiwanese buildings, and constantly threatening Taiwan directly on national and international media. There is no explanation needed why this has caused an international stir.
The United States, until recently, didn’t have a completely clear stance on if it was going to defend Taiwan in the event of Chinese aggression. A week ago, however, the US officially vowed to protect the Republic of China if the PRC decides to finally invade the island. Taiwanese president Tsang Ing-wen has confirmed the presence of US troops on the island.
The future is unclear. However, one thing is absolutely clear - a Chinese invasion of Taiwan has the potential to turn into a massive, large-scale, global conflict. An event like that must be prevented at any cost.