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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 16 June, 2021

  • 20 Min Read

China- Taiwan issue

China- Taiwan issue

Taiwan reports largest incursion by Chinese forces

  • As many as 28 Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, the island’s government said. It is the largest reported incursion to date.
  • Taiwan has complained over the last few months of repeated missions by China’s air force near the self-ruled island, concentrated in the southwestern part of its air defence zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
  • The latest Chinese mission involved 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, and anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft, said Taiwan’s Defence Ministry.
  • It was the largest daily incursion since the Ministry began regularly reporting Chinese Air Force activities in Taiwan’s ADIZ last year.
  • The Ministry said Taiwanese combat aircraft were dispatched to intercept the Chinese aircraft and missile systems were also deployed to monitor them.

Historical Background

  • The first known settlers in Taiwan are Austronesian tribal people thought to have come from modern day southern China.
  • After a brief spell as a Dutch colony (1624-1661) Taiwan was unquestionably administered by China from 1683 to 1895.
  • At the beginning of the 17th Century, significant numbers of migrants started arriving from China, often fleeing turmoil or hardship.
  • The descendants of these migrated people now make up by far the largest population group in Taiwan.
  • After the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, Taiwan was under the control of Japan.
  • But with the end of World War II, the Republic of China (ROC) began ruling Taiwan with the support of its allies- the USA and the UK.
  • China initially had two political parties- the Kuomintang (KMT) or the ROC and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
  • However, the KMT had to flee to Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War as the communist forces led by Mao Zedong became victorious.
  • The undemocratic policies combined with wartime corruption made the Republic of China Government vulnerable to the Communist threat, while the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) gained popularity due to their early efforts on land reform and had the popular support of the peasants for its unflagging efforts to fight against the Japanese invaders.
  • KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek and a few from his party fled to Taiwan in 1949.
  • China considers Taiwan part of its territory to be taken control of by force if necessary. But Taiwan's leaders say that Taiwan is a sovereign state.
  • After 1949, KMT dominated Taiwan’s politics for a long time until the emergence of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
  • The DPP grew out of the Taiwanese democracy movement that rebelled against the Kuomintang (KMT) dictatorship and advocates a Taiwan-centred national identity.
  • Contact with China was completely severed for a long time.
  • After decades of hostile intentions and angry rhetoric, relations between China and Taiwan started improving in the 1980s.
  • China put forward a formula, known as "one country, two systems", under which Taiwan would be given significant autonomy if it accepted Chinese reunification.

One-China Policy:

  • It recognizes that there is only one China, and that Taiwan is a part of that.
  • Any country wishing to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing must acknowledge there is only “One China” and sever all formal ties with Taiwan.
  • The One China policy is also different from the “One China principle”, which insists that both Taiwan and mainland China are inalienable parts of a single “China.”

  • Taiwan rejected the Chinese proposal of “one country, two systems” during the 1980s, but it did relax its rules on visits to and investments in China.
  • There were also limited talks between the two sides' unofficial representatives, though Beijing's insistence that Taiwan's Republic of China (ROC) government is illegitimate prevented government-to-government contact.
  • China's implementation of a national security law in Hong Kong in 2020 was seen by many as a yet another sign that Beijing was becoming significantly more assertive in the region.

What is the “one country, two systems” approach?

  • The principle of “one country, two systems” was first proposed by Deng Xiaoping as a way to restore the relationship between the communist mainland with historically Chinese territories (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau)—that had capitalist economies.
  • This system was initially proposed to Taiwan.
  • The Taiwanese had demanded that if they were to accept the one country, two systems approach:
  1. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) should be renamed as the Republic of China and,
  2. Democratic elections would have to be conducted in mainland China. This was however not accepted by mainland China.
  • He had suggested that there would be only one China, but the distinct Chinese regions such as Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic and administrative systems, while the rest of China uses the socialism with Chinese characteristics system.
  • In 1984 the concept was enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, in which the two countries agreed that Britain would hand over sovereignty of Hong Kong to China.
  • China is responsible for defence and foreign affairs but Hong Kong runs its own internal security.

What are the Three Linkages?

  • It was a proposal by the PRC in 1979, to open up three direct links between the Taiwan Straits and China, which are: Postal services, Trade and Transportation.
  • The “Three Links” were officially established in 2008, in an agreement between the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).

Taiwan-China relations

  • Taiwan is the most populous state that is not a member of the United Nations and the largest economy outside the UN.
  • Taiwan is Asia’s 5th largest economy.
  • It is a global leader in chip manufacture and the second-largest manufacturer of IT hardware, etc.
  • China is Taiwan’s top trading partner, with trade totaling $226 billion in 2018.
  • Taiwan runs a large trade surplus with China.
  • While Taiwan is self-governed and de facto independent, it has never formally declared independence from the mainland.
  • Under the “one country, two systems” formula, Taiwan would have the right to run its own affairs; a similar arrangement is used in Hong Kong.
  • Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Asian Development Bank under various names.

Role of USA in China-Taiwan relations

  • The US is by far Taiwan's most important friend, and its only ally.
  • In 1979, US ended diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in order to concentrate on burgeoning ties with China.
  • However, it later revoked and passed the Taiwan Relations Act, which promises to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons, and stressed that any attack by China would be considered of "grave concern" to the US.
  • The Taiwan Travel Act aims to promote greater engagement between US and Taiwan.
  • US has also sought to leverage Taiwan to pressure China in the U.S.’s ongoing trade war.

Why Taiwan is important for India?

  • Taiwan is the world’s leading producer of semiconductors and other electronic components.
  • The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has more than 55 per cent of the global market share in the production of high-end custom-made chips.
  • Of the two rival companies that have survived, US-based Intel is in trouble and Korea’s Samsung has challenges of its own.
  • There will be no generation of data without the semiconductors.
  • It might be more accurate to say that “semiconductors are the new oil” and their production is increasingly dominated by Taiwan and the TMSC.
  • Taiwan’s position as a semiconductor superpower opens the door for more intensive strategic-economic cooperation between Delhi and Taipei.

India’s Stand on the Issue:

  • Since 1949, India has accepted the “One China” policy that accepts Taiwan and Tibet as part of China.
  • However, India uses the policy to make a diplomatic point, i.e., if India believes in “One China” policy, China should also believe in a “One India” policy.
  • Even though India has stopped mentioning its adherence to One China policy in joint statements and official documents since 2010, its engagement with Taiwan is still restricted due to the framework of ties with China.
  • India and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic relations but since 1995, both sides have maintained representative offices in each other’s capitals that function as de facto embassies.

Way forward

  • Delhi must begin to deal with Taiwan as a weighty entity in its own right that offers so much to advance India’s prosperity.
  • Delhi does not have to discard its “One-China policy” to recognise that Taiwan is once again becoming the lightning rod in US-China tensions.
  • Consider the question “India needs to explore the opportunities in relationship with Taiwan even as it pursues and sticks to its One China policy. Comment.

Conclusion

As Taiwan becomes the world’s most dangerous flashpoint, the geopolitical consequences for Asia are real. Although Delhi has embraced the Indo-Pacific maritime construct, it is yet to come to terms with Taiwan’s critical role in shaping the strategic future of Asia’s waters.

Source: TH

  • 24 January, 2021

  • 4 Min Read

China - Taiwan issue

Taiwan reports Chinese air incursions

  • Eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Saturday, and Taiwan’s Air Force deployed missiles to “monitor” the incursion, the island’s Defence Ministry said.
  • China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has conducted almost daily flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea in recent months.
  • However, they have generally consisted of just one or two reconnaissance aircraft.
  • The presence of so many Chinese combat aircraft on this mission — Taiwan said it was made up of eight nuclear-capable H-6K bombers and four J-16 fighter jets — is unusual.
  • A map provided by Taiwan’s Defence Ministry showed that the Chinese aircraft, which also included a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, flew over the same waters where the most recent Chinese missions have been taking place near the Pratas Islands, though still well away from mainland Taiwan.
  • Taiwan’s Air Force warned away the Chinese aircraft and deployed missiles to monitor them, the Ministry added, using standard wording for how it responds to such activities.
  • “Airborne alert sorties had been tasked, radio warnings issued and air defence missile systems deployed to monitor the activity,” it said in a brief statement.
  • There was no immediate comment from China. In the past China has said it has been carrying out exercises to defend the country’s sovereignty and security.
  • Beijing has watched with growing concern increasing U.S. support for democratic Taiwan.
  • The flight by the Chinese bombers and fighters on Saturdaycame just days after Joe Biden assumed the U.S. presidency.

For complete analysis on Taiwan – China relations: click here

Source: TH


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