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China and Taiwan: A very simple manual

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In the area surrounding Taiwan, China has conducted its largest-ever display

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of military might, including the firing of ballistic missiles.

After Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives visited the island, there were military drills.

China views Taiwan as a secessionist province that will eventually return to being ruled by Beijing.

The self-governing island, with its own constitution and freely elected officials, perceives itself as different from the mainland.

President Xi Jinping of China has stated that “reunification” with Taiwan “must be realized” and has left open the possibility of using force to accomplish this.

Where is Taiwan?

Taiwan is an island located about 100 miles off the coast of southeast China.

It is located in the so-called “first island chain,” which is made up of many countries that support the US and are important to US foreign policy.

According to some western experts, should China acquire Taiwan, it may be freer to project power over the western Pacific and may even pose a threat to US military installations as far away as Guam and Hawaii.

China, meanwhile, adamantly maintains that its goals are simply peaceful.

Has Taiwan always been separate from China?

The Qing dynasty seized control of the island in the 17th century when it was first fully administered by China, according to historical documents. After losing the first Sino-Japanese war, they later ceded the island to Japan in 1895.

After Japan lost the Second World War, China seized the island once more in 1945.

However, a civil war broke out in mainland China between Mao Zedong’s Communist Party and Chiang Kai-nationalist she’s government forces.

The communists won in 1949, taking control of Beijing.

Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang, the remnants of the nationalist party, retreated to Taiwan, where they dominated for the following several decades.

In order to prove that Taiwan was formerly a Chinese province, China cites this history. The Taiwanese, on the other hand, assert that they were never a part of either the modern Chinese state, which was initially established after the revolution in 1911 or the People’s Republic of China, which was established in 1949 under Mao.

Can Taiwan defend itself?

China might make an effort to achieve “reunification” through non-military means, such as fostering closer economic connections.

However, in any armed battle, the Chinese military would be significantly more powerful than Taiwan’s.

China spends more on defense than any other country outside the US and has access to a wide range of weapons, including planes, missile technology, aircraft, and cyberattacks.

Although much of China’s military force is concentrated elsewhere, there remains a large disparity between the two sides overall, for instance in terms of active duty men.

Is the situation getting worse?

Following Ms. Pelosi’s visit, which Beijing deemed “very dangerous,” relations between Taiwan and China appear to have abruptly deteriorated.

Three of the six danger zones were where China conducted military drills in close proximity to Taiwan’s territorial seas.

According to Taiwan, the action, which required ships and aircraft to find alternate routes, infringed its sovereignty and amounted to a blockade.

Why is Taiwan important to the rest of the world?

The economy of Taiwan is quite significant.

Taiwanese computer chips power a large portion of the world’s common electronic devices, including phones, computers, watches, and game consoles.

According to one metric, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, also known as TSMC, controls more than half of the global market.

TSMC is a so-called “foundry,” a business that produces semiconductors with the help of both commercial and governmental clients. It is a sizable sector, expected to generate up to $100 billion (£73 billion) in 2021.

Beijing might gain some control over one of the most significant sectors in the world if China invades Taiwan.

Are the Taiwanese people worried?

Research indicates that many Taiwanese citizens are not very disturbed despite the recent tensions between China and Taiwan.

The Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation polled citizens in October 2021 to find out if they believed that China and Taiwan might one day go to war.

The majority (64.3%) of respondents said no.

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