Why China wants to invade Taiwan

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The Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, is an island alienated from mainland China (People’s Republic of China (PRC)) by the Taiwan Strait. The intricate relationship between the two nations dates back to the 1946-1949 Chinese Civil War, culminating when the ROC regime escaped to Taiwan island (Çiftçioğlu, 2019). Originally, the conflict was about the legitimate Chinese government. Nevertheless, by the end of the 20th century, Taiwan’s persistence in retaining its independent status differed from China’s assertion that the island was an inseparable part of the mainland. As a result, the relationship between PRC and Taiwan has fluctuated between guarded amity and utter enmity ever since the Archipelago disaffiliated from the collectivist island more than 60 years ago (Çiftçioğlu, 2019). While the Chinese government has long sought after the island, the decades-long seething hostility between the two nations has escalated even more. Particularly after a US high-profile visit to Taiwan and the republic’s rejection of the ‘one country, two systems’ formulation, scarring the social and commercial relations.

Relations Between Taiwan and China

Although Taiwan has been ruled independently, the PRC perceives the island as a portion of its territory and finally pledges to unite it with the mainland. Beijing claims that the PRC is the only legal Chinese regime, an approach it referred to as the One-China principle, and pursues Taiwan’s ultimate union with the mainland. Moreover, it asserts that the island is bound by the 1992 consensus, which was attained between representatives of the Kuomintang (KMT) that governed Taiwan and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Wang et al., 2021). Nonetheless, the two nations do not agree on the consensus’ contents since it was never purposed to address the query of Taiwan’s legitimacy status. For KMT, the agreement means ‘one China, different interpretations’ with the island standing as the ‘one China’ (Wang et al., 2021). Conversely, China’s president asserts that the consensus echoes a treaty that the two sides of the trait belong to one nation, the PRC.

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The KMT-drafted charter of Taiwan continues to acknowledge Tibet, Mongolia, China, the South China Sea, and Taiwan as part of mainland China. It does not endorse Taiwan’s sovereignty and constantly demands closer relations with the PRC. However, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), KMT’s main rival, has never validated the pact outlined in the 1992 consensus (Wang et al., 2021). President Tsai, DPP’s leader, refuses to accede to the agreement openly. Rather, she has endeavored to find another consensus that Beijing would assent to. In 2016 during her inaugural speech, Tsai stated that she was the president-elect of Taiwan according to the ROC’s constitution and that she would protect the nation’s territory and autonomy (Çiftçioğlu, 2019). She added that she would perform cross-strait affairs in conformity with the ROC’s charter (The Act governing the relations between Chinese and Taiwanese people). Nonetheless, Beijing overruled the arrangement and disrupted formal ties with the island.

China’s Invasion of Taiwan

The hostility between Taiwan and China has intensified considerably, with a Chinese attack on the island gradually seeming like a probability. While Taiwanese people consider their nation alienated from China whether or not it is granted sovereignty, the Chinese regime perceives the island as a splinter province that will finally be unified with the mainland (Fantová, 2022). Taiwan’s rejection of the ‘one country, two systems’ formulation proposed by the Chinese government was the beginning of the impending invasion. The system would permit the island considerable independence if it agreed to be ruled by Beijing. The refusal led China to contend that the Taiwanese government was illegal.

The tensions have also aggravated due to Nancy Pelosi’s (The US Speaker of the House of Representatives) visit to Taiwan and after the US asserted that it would safeguard the island in case of Chinese assault. China strongly condemned the actions and responded by planning military exercises that encircled the island completely and barred the importation of fish and fruit from the nation. In addition, President Tsai’s reprimand of Beijing’s endeavors to weaken democracy has also worsened China’s military and political pressure on Taipei. Making matters worse, a study conducted by the National Chengchi University indicates that the percentage of people in Taiwan who are categorized as Chinese has dropped significantly since the late 20th century (Fantová, 2022). Instead, most people on the island identify themselves as Taiwanese, highlighting the challenge that China would encounter in bringing the independent island under its sovereignty.

China has long sought-after Taiwan, leading to the escalation of the cross-strait tensions. While the island is ruled independently by the PRC, China perceives the island as a portion of its territory and finally pledges to unite it with the mainland. The KMT does not endorse Taiwan’s independence and constantly demands closer relations with the PRC. However, the DPP has never validated the pact outlined in the 1992 consensus. Instead, it attempts to find another agreement that Beijing would assent to. Nonetheless, the hostility between Taiwan and China has intensified considerably, particularly after Pelosi visited Taipei, with a Chinese attack on the island increasingly seeming like a possibility.

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  1. Çiftçioğlu, H. (2019). The Taiwanese Island Dispute Between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) And the Republic of China (ROC). https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hatice-Ciftcioglu/publication/339365978_The_Taiwanese_Island_Dispute_Between_the_People’s_Republic_of_China_PRC_And_the/links/5e4d90c492851c7f7f48a9f5/The-Taiwanese-Island-Dispute-Between-the-Peoples-Republic-of-China-PRC-And-the.pdf
  2. Fantová, S. (2022). Taiwan and One China Policy: The Position of the Republic of China through International Law and Practical Politics. https://dspace.cuni.cz/bitstream/handle/20.500.11956/174381/120420406.pdf?sequence=1
  3. Wang, A. H. E., Yeh, Y. Y., Wu, C. K., & Chen, F. Y. (2021). The non‐consensus 1992 consensus. Asian Politics & Policy13(2), 212-227. https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1240&context=political_science_articles
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