China and Taiwan’s tense relations

Taiwan split from China in the period of 1949-50 when the CCP was actively against the ROC party in the Taiwanese region. This ROC party then created their own new country during a civil war and Taiwan has been separate from China ever since. This differs from what was done in the case of Hong Kong where the British declared a “one nation, two systems” with a 50-year agreement. The agreement in case of Taiwan isn’t just blurry but non-existent.

Chiang Kai Shek

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The ROC party (Republic of China) faced a great push from Mao Zedong’s Communist party which forced to them settle in the island of Taiwan. Chiang Kai Shek himself had been an authoritarian leader while in China and was responsible for the deaths of millions of people. His own rise was marked with assassinations and illegal seizing of power. In Taiwan his rulership faced backlash and hence his son had to loosen authoritarian measures and bring forward the much needed democracy.

Contemporary times

Taiwan elects officials which stand for independence, which obviously is disliked by Beijing. People like Chen Shui-bian, a former President of Taiwan, openly declared independence. Since 2016, the current President of Taiwan Ms Tsai has been in power. She has been in contact with US, and worked closely with Donald Trump over purchasing defensive weapons and improving trade agreements as China has stepped up its pressure on international companies to recognize Taiwan as a province of China. The new President Joe Biden has also described his support of Taiwan as “rock solid”. Beijing has openly criticized many of these US-Taiwan meets.

Pineapple Wars

Taiwan is reputed not only for its semiconductor industries, but it also its fruit industry. China decided to ban pineapples from Taiwan deeming them as “containing harmful organisms”. This move is similar to what China has been playing with Australia over barley and other industries.

The Chinese have also flown planes over Taiwanese airspace to heighten fears of a war in the region. The US alarms Taiwan of a possible war but the Taiwanese believe that China is only showing off their military muscle. Pressure from China on Taiwan in economic terms has risen and the country wants to use its economic ties to cut all international lines with Taiwan.

International relations

The coronavirus has provided China with fresh opportunities to pressurize Taiwan. Despite the small country doing a mostly good job handling the pandemic, they face issues of finding someone to provide them with vaccines. China is actively trying to block Taiwan’s deals companies such as Germany’s BioNTech. This further pushes Taiwan to accept the Chinese Sinovac vaccine.

Despite the usual threats from China, Taiwan has gained much more spotlight in recent years. Countries like Japan have been helping their neighbors stand against the mutual enemy. Taiwan was expelled from UN after pressure from China calling it a province of China and was again rejected to join in 2007, but international relations of Taiwan with nations within and beyond Asia have improved. Despite of all, most countries around the world shy from recognizing Taiwan as independent due to their business ties with China.

Aman Vaniawala

Written by Aman Vaniawala

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