Concerns that Beijing would attempt to seize the island by force, as Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping has repeatedly intimated, heightened significantly last month as both China and Taiwan celebrated their national days.
A record number of aircraft, including nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, were sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army into Taiwan’s air defence zone over the course of several days. In a speech, Xi reaffirmed his intention to bring about the “”unification”” of Taiwan with China. In response, Taiwan launched an air missile defence system, scrambled fighter jets, and broadcast radio alerts. Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan, declared that the country would strengthen its defences “”to ensure that Taiwan is not coerced into following the course China has set out for us.”” On August 1, 2010, this entry was published.
Taiwan has issued warnings in response to China’s military aggressions about the possibility of a strategic error that might ignite a full-scale conflict or that China might use the sorties as a prelude to a full-scale invasion. Despite Taiwan’s distance from New Zealand being over 9,000 kilometres, Regarding the growing incursions by Chinese planes, the government of New Zealand has stayed silent.
However, a New Zealand vessel took part in a sizable military flotilla that passed through the South China Sea last month as part of a show of force in an effort to stand up to China.
Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China, notwithstanding the claims made by China’s Xi about their “”reunification.”” From 1683 to 1895, Taiwan was ruled by China’s Qing dynasty. After that, Japan won the first Sino-Japanese War, and China gave Japan control of Taiwan. Up until 1945, when Japan lost the Second World War, this persisted.
Although the “”Republic of China”” had been created on the mainland by this point, a civil war broke out between the Nationalists, who were in power, the Kuomintang, and Mao Zedong’s newly-emerging Communist Party. Around 1.2 million people, including General Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists, evacuated the mainland and settled in Taiwan.
(The indigenous people of Taiwan have been residing there for thousands of years and constitute up 2% of the total population. Mori shares genetic, linguistic, and cultural ties with this group.)
In 1949, the Nationalists moved their “”Republic of China”” to Taiwan, while the Communists created the “”People’s Republic of China”” on the mainland.
The Communist Party is still adamant that there is only “”One China”” and it sees Taiwan, which is made up of the main island and many smaller ones, including Kinmen, which is located about 3 kilometres off the coast of the mainland, as a renegade province.
For many decades, the majority of the world regarded the exiled Republic of China government as the legitimate authority of not just Taiwan but of all of China.
In the 1970s, when the US decided to collaborate with China in a strategic rebalancing meant to confront the Soviet Union, things started to shift. It recognised the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate government in China in 1979 and formally established diplomatic ties with Beijing.
In October 1971, New Zealand backed China’s admission to the UN rather than Taiwan’s. The New Zealand Labour Party established diplomatic links with the Chinese Communist government the next year. Importantly, it recognised the Chinese government’s claim that Taiwan was an “”indispensable component of Chinese territory”” even if it did not state this openly.
That wager appeared to be profitable for many nations as China’s population soared above the 1 billion mark and it began a series of economic reforms that saw it transform into the world’s factory and then a sizable market of aspirational consumers. However, over the last few decades, the calculation has started to change. With a population of 23 million, Taiwan has developed into a thriving democracy, complete with legislative brawls and ferocious street protests. However, it still exists in a state of limbo because it is neither recognised as a nation in its own right nor a member of the UN.
China, which is ruled by the Communist Party, has started to utilise its economic might to advance its diplomatic objectives, notably by expelling Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies.
Presently, just 15 nations officially recognise Taiwan, including the Holy See, Palau, Nauru, and Nicaragua. Several Pacific islands, including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, have shifted their allegiance from Taiwan to China in recent years; these actions are frequently accompanied by large pledges of financial assistance, loans, and investments. On August 1, 2010, this entry was published.
However, New Zealand has kept up its economic and cultural links with Taiwan. It concluded a comprehensive trade agreement with Taiwan in 2013 and maintains a Commerce and Industry Office there.
Much of the globe interacts with Taiwan in similar ways to how New Zealand does. Even the US, which educates Taiwan’s military and sends military equipment there, does not formally recognise Taiwan.
With about $2.3 billion in annual trade, the two economies rank as our ninth-largest export market. The Taiwanese purchase dairy, fruit, meat, and timber, and during a typical year, our nation is a well-liked vacation spot. We rely on imported electronics in New Zealand; Taiwan is the major manufacturer of the semiconductor chips used in, say, cellphones. and plastics.
Given our dependence on China purchasing our exports, analysts warn the possibility of falling out of favour with China is concerning for the New Zealand government. The nation has to consent to reject Taiwan’s recognition in order to choose to recognise China. Given China’s steadfast perception that Taiwan is only a province, a decision to shift that position would likely infuriate the economic superpower.
China has demonstrated that it is willing to penalise nations economically when they don’t comply; for instance, when Australia pushed for additional investigations into the Covid origins, China imposed trade sanctions on Australian exports of wine, coal, fisheries, and barley.
There are two key factors
One: According to Taiwanese millennials, who claim to have been “”born independent,”” they have only ever experienced a democratic way of life. They disapprove of China’s growing authoritarian trend and want nothing to do with it. Some claim that South Korea or democratic Japan are more their cultural neighbours than the People’s Republic.
Two. Hong Kong is number two. When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, Taiwan was the true goal of China’s “”one country, two systems”” policy.
It has become increasingly obvious to the Taiwanese that this framework is unsustainable as Beijing has reduced political and civil liberties in Hong Kong.
According to analysts, the Chinese Communist Party is becoming more and more afraid of losing an entire generation of Taiwanese, as it did in Hong Kong. and therefore, wants to act sooner rather than later to exert control over Taiwan too.
In recent years, China’s military has expanded to the point where, according to observers, an invasion is now possible. At the same time, the US military’s influence in the area has decreased, allowing the power dynamic to begin to change.