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Current Affairs

China-Taiwan tussle

Date: 15 October 2021 Tags: India & World

Issue

China’s tussle with Taiwan has increased since October 1, when China celebrates National Day to mark the birth of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

 

Background

China has engaged in aggressive strategy of flying fighter aircrafts into the airspace of Taiwan, creating fear across the globe.

 

Details

  • Taiwan considers itself as an independent sovereign nation and the government led by pro-democracy President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed to protect its sovereignty.

  • Taiwan however is entirely dependent on US for its defence. Any sense of escalation between Taiwan and China will also strain ties between US and China.

 

The nation of Taiwan

  • Taiwan is located on the Farmosa Island in East China Sea. It is separated from East coast of China by the Farmosa strait.

  • It falls to the north of the Philippines and south of South Korea, and southwest of Japan. Any escalation in Taiwan will likely affect the whole region.

  • Independent Taiwan (ROC) was formed after the republican government of Kuomintang escaped post the 1949 victory of the communists that led to the formation of People’s Republic of China (PRC).

 

The strain

  • Since the formation of PRC, the communists believed in merging Taiwan with mainland China. Until 1971, the ROC was the sole representative at the UN.

  • After the 1970s, US established its diplomatic ties with PRC. This led to recognition of PRC as the sole representative of China and ROC was relegated.

  • Though US officially recognises only PRC, it maintains ties with Taiwan and even sells it weapons. US also advocates for its independence. About 15 small countries recognize Taiwan.

 

The current tensions

  • The USA sent a high ranking official on a state visit to Taiwan, leading to strong response from China through a military exercise.

  • In October 2020, Xi Jinping had triggered tensions in Taiwan when he asked PLA to prepare for a war. The US has however stayed clear of taking a stand.

 

Challenge for USA

  • USA’s reputation as a global power has been seriously dented after face-saving exit from Afghanistan.

  • Countries such as South Korea, Japan, and Philippines, which are under protective umbrella of US, are already vary of USA’s waning influence and power.

  • The AUKUS pact has further brought new dimensions to regional politics. Taiwan has supported the pact whereas China has objected.

 

Implications for India

  • India has strong trade and cultural ties with Taiwan. There are plans to bring semiconductor manufacturing to India by signing a pact with Taiwan.

  • After the skirmish at the border, there have been demands to revisit the ‘One China’ policy. Having robust relations with Taiwan to send a message to Beijing is also being explored.