The island of Taiwan, which roughly constitutes 99.8% of the territory held by the Republic of China, lies across the South China Sea on the opposite side of mainland China across the Taiwan Strait. Mainland China is controlled by the People’s Republic of China, where the Xi Jinping led Communist Party holds the regime, and claims the Taiwanese territory. The island of Taiwan is controlled by a democratically elected Government, named as the Republic of China, which claims the entire People’s Republic of China as its own territory.
It all started in the 1950s, when China emerged victorious in the second World War, defeating Japan, and retaking Manchuria, east China, Shanghai, Taiwan, and other territories occupied by Japan in the war. The Kuomintang Party, which then formed the largest political party in China, consolidated the Chinese people to form the Government. However, the growing influence of the Communists in China resulted in the Chinese Civil War. The war resulted in occupation of Communist forces all across China, called mainland China, while the Kuomintang Party found its new base in Taiwan. Both People’s Republic of China and Republic of China claim the entire China as its own, while disregarding the other.
Taiwan was largely peaceful, while China went ahead to crush rebellions and uprisings in Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Hong Kong and Macau. Now, China has become the world’s superpower exerting influence in other countries all across the world. Its growing influence across the Indian Ocean, especially in Sri Lankan and Burmese ports is also a matter of concern for India. It has also consolidated its naval supremacy across the entire South China Sea, denying the rights of its use to Philippines, Indonesia and other countries in proximity. China has also claimed Arunachal Pradesh and was involved in border skirmishes in Ladakh, Sikkim and Bhutan.
Now, China has upped its ante in the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese Navy previously had an active presence throughout the South China Sea and East China Sea. Now the Air Force and the People’s Liberation Army are occupying a centre stage in controlling both the seas. China is calling the patrols military drills, while western countries like the USA point out that the simple drills are to test its preparedness for a possible invasion into the island anytime soon. With Russia invading Ukraine for territorial gains, Chinese invasion of Taiwan is looking increasingly probable. However, the latest news has come, where China is asserting that its week-long military drills are over.
China has maintained the fact that the reunification of China and Taiwan will be peaceful with a one country two political systems approach. However, an overwhelming majority of Taiwanese oppose any sort of unification with Communist China. Taiwanese fear that like Hong Kong and Macau, any sort of unification will make Taiwan subjugate under the Communist regime forever. However, in case any war breaks out, USA has promised to support Taiwanese against Chinese invasion as it is currently doing indirectly with arms and technology in Ukraine.
Written by – Himadri Paul