Taiwan touchdown: China-Taiwan relations amid Nancy Pelosi's visit

New DelhiWritten By: Sneha SwaminathanUpdated: Aug 04, 2022, 06:59 AM IST
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Knowledge nugget: What are the implications of United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit, tracing the China-Taiwan relations and more. 

What’s the latest? 

After several weeks of uncertainty, Nancy Pelosi made her way into Taiwan on an air force passenger jet on Tuesday. This is seen as the highest-ranking visit by an American politician to the island in 25 years.

Pelosi’s op-ed in the Washington post reiterates US’s commitment to Taiwan. In her piece, she took cognizance of Beijing’s big-brother attitude over Taiwan and how Beijing has drastically amped-up tensions with Taiwan. 

“In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s accelerating aggression, our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom,” she said. 

As pointed out by Dr. Sana Hashmi, Postdoctoral Fellow at Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation, nobody really imagined that Pelosi’s trip would actually materialise. In fact, Taiwan was also reticent about any developments on Pelosi’s visit. But, the stance has changed since yesterday after Pelosi's touch down to Taiwan. The otherwise, lowkey island nation has also given a fitting response to China’s military tactics and threats by conveying that the Taiwanese army was equipped to handle any pressure. 

Pelosi’s visit has amplified tension between China and US, with the former now very insecure over Taiwan. The sore point behind the tension is that the Chinese government does not see Taiwan as a separate entity, but a breakaway province that would eventually be forced to join mainland China. The Taiwanese considered their island to be a separate nation whether or not independence was ever publicly declared. 

What is the disagreement between China and Taiwan? 

As mentioned above, territorial sovereignty is the main reason behind the disagreement. Additionally, China has not ruled out taking it by force.

Locating Taiwan

At the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, the losing Kuomintang government fled to the island of Taiwan and established the Republic of China (ROC) government in exile.

The Chinese Communist party (CCP) established the People’s Republic of China on the mainland. 

Starting from the 1970s, many nations began switching their formal affiliation from the Republic of China to Beijing, and today less than 15 world governments recognise Taiwan as a country.

The Chinese Communist Party has never formally ruled over Taiwan and since the end of the civil war Taiwan has enjoyed de facto independence.

After the ending of martial law in the 1980s, the island nation anchored itself to become a democracy with free elections.  

But for Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, the unification of China and Taiwan is pivotal. While, Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, considers Taiwan as an independent country with no need to formally declare independence, Beijing recognises Taiwan’s democratically elected government as a separatist group.