Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

China vs Taiwan

28 August 2018

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China is actively persuading countries to stop acknowledging Taiwan’s existence as a separate state. Taiwan News, May 2018: “Over the past 18 years, Taiwan has lost a total of 14 diplomatic allies due to pressure from China in an attempt to diminish Taiwan’s sovereignty, leaving the island with only 18 allies around the globe.” In August 2018, El Salvador switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China (NYT). China expects Swaziland to follow soon (Reuters).

According to China, Taiwan is a province of China. Until 1971, it was the other way around: China was a province of Taiwan. Wiki: “As a founding member of the United Nations, the Republic of China (a.k.a. Taiwan) represented China at the UN until 1971, when it lost its seat to the People’s Republic of China (a.k.a. PRC).” Note LO: quote amended for clarification purposes.

China’s continued push to alienate Taiwan – diplomatically, economically and militarily – have raised strategic concerns in the U.S. since 2000. These concerns explain the Pentagon’s annual reports on the Chinese military (2018 PDFprevious years). Since 2017, U.S. Congress has introduced 16 bills as a pushback against China (eg, GovTrackNYT-2018).

“In June [2017], the [U.S.] Senate Armed Services Committee passed an amendment to the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require U.S. Navy warships to conduct port calls in Taiwan — that is, to regularly dock, contrary to current practice, at Taiwanese ports for extended visits.” (BI-2017, also see Taiwan News)

On 8 December 2017, a Chinese diplomat in the US (allegedly) threatened: “The day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung, is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unites Taiwan with military force.” (eg, Australia NewsBIDiplomatTaiwan News)

Developments have accelerated ever since:

  • NYT: “President Trump signed separate legislation in December [2017] that included a provision encouraging mutual port calls by naval vessels from Taiwan and the [US].” 
  • Taiwan News: “Taiwan [is] likely to actively apply for mutual visits by Navy vessels.” 
  • Defense News: “US Navy destroyers make a rare passage through the Taiwan Strait.”
  • Guardian, June 2018: “officials in Washington say they plan to send a US aircraft carrier battlegroup into the Taiwan Strait”. 
  • Defense News: “The U.S. has not sen[t] a carrier through the strait since 2007.”

Page 118 of the August 2018 Pentagon report on the Chinese military caught specific attention: “The PLA has long been developing air strike capabilities to engage targets as far away from China as
possible. Over the last three years, the PLA has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating
areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against U.S. and
allied targets.” (PDF-page 118JanesROC NewsSputnik News)

China’s response arrived within days: “China has voiced strong opposition to a report by the US Defense Department on China’s military and security developments, saying it misinterprets China’s strategic intentions and hypes a so-called Chinese military threat.” (China Daily, GS). 

Unfortunately, China expressed similar denials regarding the militarization and the nuclearization of the (territorially disputed) Spratly islands in the South China Sea.

Wishful Thinking (1983) by China Crisis – artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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