How Taiwan stood up to China despite Western isolation

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION
New Delhi Published: May 14, 2020, 10:17 PM(IST)

"This is just the Taiwan side engaging in a petty action, and cannot change the 'one China' structure already formed by the international community," Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said at an academic forum in Beijing, state media reported. Photograph:( Getty )

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The Chinese regime views Taiwan as a breakaway province but its leaders have always had differing views on the island's status

Taiwan which is officially known as the Republic of China is an island state located just 130 kilometers away from mainland China. The Chinese regime views it as a breakaway province but Taiwanese leaders have always had differing views on the island's status.

It dates back to 1949 when the Republic of China(ROC) had been governing China for decades but it lost the civil war to the Communists who went on to form the People's Republic of China.

The ROC leader Chiang Kai-Shek and the remnants of his party, the Kuomintang, fled to Taiwan with soldiers to intellectuals and business elites. Nearly 2 million people moved homes from mainland China to Taiwan.

They took along with them many national treasures and most of China's gold reserves. In the years that followed, leaders in Taipei and Beijing both claimed to be the legitimate government of China.

The dispute ended in 1971 when the United Nations expelled the ROC further isolating Taiwan. In fact, most Western powers began changing their position in favour of the Communist Party but it did not deter Taiwan. Diplomatically isolated, Taiwan began focusing on industrialization and economic growth.

A transformation that came to be known as the "Taiwan miracle".

Taiwan's Gross National Product grew 360 per cent between 1965 and 1986, even more impressive was its global industrial production output which grew by 680 per cent in the same period.

The social gap between rich and poor narrowed and Taiwan was doing better than the West. Taiwan alongside Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong became known as the "Four Asian Tigers". An Asian Tiger which started questioning cross-Strait ties with Beijing.

In 2016, the election of Tsai Ing-wen came as a political awakening for the people of Taiwan because Tsai Ing-wen's political message revolved around the importance of the Taiwanese identity.

A message that gave her another landslide victory this year. Tsai Ing-wen has now pledged that democracy will be at the heart of Taiwan's future relations with China. 
 
The coronavirus has offered Taiwan a chance to push back against China. Its success in battling the pandemic is being seen as a geopolitical win but Beijing is showing no signs of easing its aggression. It is threatening economic punishment and military pushback.

It's time for the world to take a stand.

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