Tensions between China and Taiwan reached an all-time high this week as China faced the consequences of its actions, responding to calls from both South Korea and the U.K., as Taiwan stepped into its power by reasserting its predecessors’ agreements.
China exceeded the initially scheduled four days while conducting its largest-ever drills near Taiwan. A furious China conducted launches of ballistic missiles, some of which flew over the island’s capital of Taipei, and simulated sea and air attacks in surrounding skies and waters. China claims the independent island it claims as its own after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei last week, ignoring warnings from China to avoid the island.
It seems evident that China appears to be playing power games with the independent island. China has stated in two previous white papers on Taiwan, published in 1993 and 2000, that it “would not send soldiers or administrative officials to be based in Taiwan after accomplishing what Beijing refers to as reunification.”
However, in a white paper released Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a decision allowing for less autonomy than previously offered by withdrawing a promise not to send troops or administrators to Taiwan if China were to take control of the island.
China’s Communist Party has advocated that Taiwan may return to its sovereignty under the terms of “one nation, two systems; similar to the plan used to retake control of the former British colony of Hong Kong in 1997.
According to opinion polls, there is zero public support for submitting to China. Taiwan responded to the ruling party’s request with a downright refusal Thursday. The self-ruled island’s foreign ministry rejected the “one country, two systems.” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Joanne Ou, assured the public that “Only Taiwan’s people can decide its future.”
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council condemned the white paper, saying it was “full of lies of wishful thinking and disregarded the facts” and that the Republic of China – Taiwan’s official name – was a sovereign state. Figurehead, Ou, added that China used Nancy Pelosi’s visit as an “…excuse to create a new normality to intimidate Taiwan’s people.”
Beijing has threatened to use force against Taiwan several times and has refused to back down from these threats. Taiwan has been threatened by a Chinese invasion since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communist Party won a civil war, and the defeated Republic of China government retreated to the island.
The title of the newest white paper is “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era” The phrase “new era” is frequently used to describe Xi’s rule, who is expected to win a third term at the Communist Party meeting later this year.