What happens between China and Taiwan? Are they part of the same country? What is your story and relationship?

(CNN Spanish) — Taiwan and its strained relations with China are once again drawing the world’s attention: This Saturday, voters on the self-ruled island will elect its new leader in the shadow of Beijing, which has stepped up its threats against Taipei over the past eight years .

The world is closely watching not only the election winner, but how Taiwan’s authoritarian neighbor will react. Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader in the past generation, has called Taiwan’s unification with the mainland a “historical inevitability” that must be achieved by force if necessary.

The last time Taiwan changed government – ​​when the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power in 2016 – Beijing cut off most communications with Taipei and significantly increased economic, diplomatic and military pressure on the island in the following years. , turning the Taiwan Strait into one of the world’s major geopolitical flashpoints.

But the tension between China and Taiwan does not end here.

In August 2022, then-Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi raised similar tensions during her visit to the island, which has in recent years become a recurring symbol of the rivalry between the United States and China, the two main economic powers. Has gone. In this world.

Pelosi landed in Taiwan as part of her Asia tour, and amid repeated threats from China on the trip, she said some US politicians were “playing with fire.” It was the first time in 25 years that a Speaker of the House of Representatives visited the island.

Washington’s every gesture toward Taipei regularly draws a response from Beijing, and there were several responses in 2022: the last one happened last week, when Pelosi’s intentions to visit Taiwan became known.

China’s Foreign Ministry then promised to take “firm and forceful measures” if he went ahead with the visit.

In May 2022, another state of tension arose, when United States President Joe Biden said that his country would respond militarily if China intervened in Taiwan, in reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. has caused concern in Taipei. Similar action is possible by Beijing.

“We agree to the One China policy. We signed it and all the related agreements were made there, but the idea that it can be taken by force, simply by force, is not appropriate,” Biden said .

While in June 2021 a group of US senators flew to Taiwan on a military plane to announce a large donation of COVID-19 vaccines, and the visit was seen by Beijing as the latest in a series of provocations.

And in October of that year, about 150 Chinese warplanes flew near Taiwan airspace in the largest incursion to date, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.

Taiwan and China

Taiwan Air Force pilots next to their Mirage 2000 fighter planes during an exercise in January 2019. (Credit: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

The tension is reminiscent of decades of hostility between the governments of Beijing and Taipei, with both sides historically claiming to be the legitimate rulers of all of China’s territory, including Taiwan.

Here’s a look at this historical controversy.

nationalist government

Taiwan’s official name, the Republic of China, dates from its founding in 1911 after the fall of China’s last imperial dynasty.

Under the government of the Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT), led by Chiang Kai-shek, the Republic of China faced the advances of the Empire of Japan in the early 1930s and again during World War II, as well as Mao Zedong The growing power of the Chinese Communists under the leadership of.

Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan in the 1950s. (Credit Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

(After Japan’s defeat in 1945, the Republic of China recovered the island of Taiwan, which China had lost in an earlier war with the Japanese. But four years later in 1949, Communist Party forces defeated the Kuomintang on the mainland in a bloody civil war.

That same year, Mao founded the People’s Republic of China, with its capital in Beijing.

According to Taiwanese officials’ estimates, about 1.2 million Chinese, mainly military, fled to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek’s government, and after defeating a brief incursion by Communist troops on the island they managed to settle there.

In contrast, Mao’s forces extended their control into mainland China, and have since treated Taiwan as a rebellious province and an “inalienable part” that would eventually return to Beijing’s control.

Chinese President Mao Zedong shakes hands with US President Richard Nixon after a historic Cold War meeting in Beijing in February 1972. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Regional disputes, global tensions

Separated by contradictions, ideological positions and historical conflict, the two Chinas – the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China – coexist amid tensions, despite sharing traditions, culture and a common language, Mandarin Chinese.

This tension between Beijing and Taipei has always been linked to the difficult relations between Beijing and Washington.

The United States government, an ally of the Kuomintang during World War II, did not initially recognize the legitimacy of the communist government in mainland China. On the contrary, he continued to give his political support to Taipei.

China Taiwan

A Chinese Shenyang J-16 fighter jet.

However, UN member states recognized the People’s Republic’s legitimacy in 1971, including its permanent seat on the Security Council, which was until then held by Taipei.

On the other hand, rapprochement between China and the United States in the early 1970s and amid the Cold War led to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing and the relocation of the US embassy in 1979. From Taipei to Beijing.

But far from signaling a rift in relations with Taiwan, the US has maintained strong commercial and military ties with the island, which it considers a key ally in the region, within the framework of “strategic ambiguity”.

This includes Washington’s commitment to help defend Taiwan, the democratically ruled island of more than 23 million people, against a potential communist invasion by China.

“A Chinese”

For decades, the Taiwan Strait has been the site of military tensions and skirmishes between China and Taiwan, and Beijing even bombed outlying islands controlled by Taipei on two occasions.

Between 1995 and 1996, the last major crisis occurred following the visit of then-Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui to the United States. China fired missiles into waters near Taiwan in response to the meeting and the United States sent two aircraft carriers to the area.

At the same time, representatives of mainland China and Taiwan began rapprochement in the early 1990s, limited to a 1992 summit in Hong Kong, which was then still under the control of the United Kingdom.

President Tsai Ing-wen during a rally in Taoyuan, Taiwan, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, ahead of the presidential election.

Pro-reunification parties in Beijing and Taiwan assured that during that meeting there was agreement about the principle of “one China”, that is, both sides recognize the existence of a single country that should be reunified.

But they disagreed on who had the legitimate authority to do so and even on the scope of the “1992 consensus”, which is today rejected even by Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. Whose party traditionally defends the formal independence of the island.

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing says, “There is only one China and the Government of the People’s Republic is the only legitimate one and Taiwan is part of China.”

The official position regarding reunification in Taiwan is more ambiguous, and the island’s governments have sought to maintain the status quo. But the Kuomintang and other reunification forces also insist that the Republic of China is the legitimate government of the entire region.

With reporting by Simon McCarthy, Eric Cheung, Nectar Gan, Brad Landon, Kevin Liptak, Donald Judd, Wayne Chang and Ben Westcott.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button