There is a long history of division between China and Taiwan. As tensions continue to build in the Asian region over a number of issues, many wonder where relations between these two countries are headed. As the United States begins to rework its foreign policy towards Asia and takes the steps towards another arms sale deal with Taiwan, China looks at ways to continue enforcing their “One China” mentality. It may be a rude awakening to the country to realize that in reality it is “One China, One Taiwan.”
The tension between China and Taiwan began in the 1920s when The Nationalist Party (the present Taiwan) was ruling China. For many years, the Nationalist Party had repeated a civil war against the Communist Party (the present China). After the Nationalist Party won WWII, they became one of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. After that, the civil war between two parties was fueled up.
In the end, the Nationalist Party lost the battle and withdrew to Taiwan. After their departure, the Communist Party became known as the “People’s Republic of China.” The new government in Taiwan began to call themselves, the “Republic China.” Taiwan began to operate as a democratic republic, believing in the right for Taiwanese independence. However, mainland China continues to believe that one day Taiwan will come under their control again, even if that means by physical force. In an effort to maintain the “One China” mentality, the Chinese government has worked very hard to marginalize Taiwan and persuade other countries to do the same.
Throughout this history, China has kept Taiwan from becoming an independent and recognized republic, but it seems that may be coming to an end. President Trump opened a new avenue of discussion about the treatment of Taiwan with one simple phone call.
Upon his election, Donald Trump accepted a short congratulatory call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. This short phone call marked the first time in many years that an American president had talked directly to his Taiwanese counterpart. This interaction started a whirlwind of rumors, but President Trump quickly pointed out the irony of the buzz and made mention of the United States arms sales to Taiwan.
“Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call,” Trump later tweeted.
Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2016
Despite the United States government calling the conversation, a simple phone call, China was quick to call out the country’s actions. China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi called the phone call a “petty action that cannot change China’s standing in international society.”
“The breach of protocol will not change the One China policy that the U.S. government has supported for many years,” Yi said. “The One China principle is the foundation for healthy development of Sino-U.S. relations. We don’t wish for anything to obstruct or ruin this foundation.”
Fortunately, the United States understands that the proper treatment and recognition of Taiwan is best for creating a more stable and secure Asia. As the region gears up to protect itself from North Korea, the United States is preparing to sell millions of dollars of weapons to Taiwan. This deal was created to help Taiwan build an arsenal to join the fight against the potential threat of North Korea. With so much uncertainty, it is in the best interest of the entire world for the region to be ready to defend itself. However, this deal has further infuriated China and upset relations between Taiwan and China.
“China firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan, this is consistent and clear-cut,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing. “We hope the US side fully recognizes the high sensitivity and serious harmfulness of its sales to Taiwan.”
China is definitely sticking to their beliefs and seem to be willing to take whatever measures are needed to inflict their power on Taiwan. Most recently, the country sunk to a new low by boycotting a traditional sporting event. The country has decided to have their athletes sit out of the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade.
According to the Taiwan government’s Mainland Affairs Council, China claims that their team will have a schedule conflict with the August event. However, China normally creates this sort of passive boycott anytime they get upset about an issue. In fact, there is a long list of ways the country has sneakily disparaged Taiwan.
This is already the second occasion this year that China has acted so bluntly as to bring political issues into the noble arena of sport. During the Asian Winter Games, which were held in Sapporo in February this year, a certain Japanese hotel was badly targeted by Chinese propaganda.
The Chinese government claimed that books placed in every room of the APA Group’s hotels denied the occurrence of the Nanking Massacre. China responded with the severe measure of not allowing the Chinese delegation to stay in APA hotels. The book that had been left in the hotel rooms pointed out a contradiction in the Chinese government’s claims, questioning why the incident is said to have had 300,000 victims, when the population of Nanking at the time was only 200,000.
While this historical incident has been a source of controversy between China and Japan for many years, there are recent reversals of the commonly accepted theory: the Chinese have amplified the number of victims several ten fold, the Chinese government merely uses this incident as a tool for the anti-Japanese education that it has been carrying out for many years. This incident is basically a Chinese fabrication. Whatever the case may be, this is all an annoyance to athletes who simply want to focus on the game.
Taiwanese officials had hoped that politics wouldn’t impact this popular event. China’s actions are the perfect example of the direction relations are heading between the two countries. Without China’s willingness to accept Taiwan as an independent republic and not a Chinese territory, this relationship will never mend.
The issue of Taiwan’s status and independence continues to be an issue of contention between Beijing and Taipei. As threats of North Korea’s actions and the changing of America’s foreign policy on Asia, this is the perfect time for the two countries to become united over the common goal of peace. Without a stable and cooperative relationship, the area will continue to be vulnerable to the issues changing the political landscape of Asia.