While the Chinese Military Commission leaves the door open to a military takeover of Taiwan, experts suggest that the use military to annex Taiwan is highly unlikely due to mounting divide between the US and China.
China has never failed to assert the “One China Policy”, that strictly insists that both Taiwan and mainland China are inseparable parts of a single “China”. However, Taiwan has historically never bowed down to Beijing’s pressure of unification, such that the dark and bloody prospect of China using military action looms over the Taiwanese sky.
Military Action by Beijing
Experts claim that China may actually be exploiting the pandemic to advance its interests in the whole world including strengthening its core claims on Taiwan and Hong Kong, since, in the present times the US is handicapped due to the pandemic.
Recently, on the 15th anniversary of the Anti-Secession Law, Li Zuocheng, chief of the Joint Staff Department and member of the Central Military Commission said that “if the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to resolutely smash any separatist plots or actions.”
As EurAsian Times had previously reported about an incident when the Chinese regime sent fighter jets and surveillance aircraft well inside the halfway mark of the Taiwan Strait that separates Taiwan from China on March 16, this year.
It is also reported that China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Navy (PLAN) have conducted almost 10 transits and military exercises near Taiwan since the beginning of this year, forcefully penetrating Taiwan’s airspace.
In the last few days, Li Zhanshu, the third-most-senior leader of China’s ruling Communist Party and head of China’s parliament had commented – “we warn Taiwan’s pro-independence and separatist forces sternly, the path of Taiwan independence leads to a dead-end; any challenge to this law will be severely punished”.
Meanwhile, other experts like China’s National People’s Congress deputy and a leading academician – Li Yihu has expressed that the use of armed forces to take over Taiwan will remain as the last resort by Beijing.
Amidst the growing tensions between US and China, Li Yihu, who heads the Institute of Taiwan Studies with Peking University, believes that Taiwan is a “potential tipping point” for China-US relations and that “the US will further look to the strategic value of the Taiwan issue in containing China, and will play the Taiwan card frequently over a long period of time, just as in the current situation.”
US’s Presence in Taiwan
Former US President Jimmy Carter in 1979 had ended ties with Taiwan to develop economic ties with booming China, simultaneously pledging to equip Taiwan with weapons to defend itself against rivals.
However, this year in March the current US President – Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act (TAIPEI Act) which intends to strengthen Taiwan’s alliances around the world amidst the growing Chinese pressure.
“The TAIPEI Act sends a clear message that the United States stands with Taiwan’s free-market democracy. I look forward to finding additional ways to support the positive role Taiwan plays in international affairs,” said US Senator, Cory Gardner after Trump signed the act.
Just a few weeks ago, the US had stood up firmly for Taiwan’s presence in the World Health Assembly (WHA). Eventually turned out to be unsuccessful but the US had launched massive twitter campaigns and voiced out its strong stance for Taiwan’s independence.
Taiwanese on Taiwan
Taiwan’s second term President Tsai Ing-wen, a pro-independence leader is nauseatingly disagreeable to China’s Xi Jinping as she had brazenly rejected China’s “one country, two systems”.
“We will not accept Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo. We stand fast by this principle,” Tsai has said while encouraging “dialogue with China” in early May.
In the context of China using military force, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council has said that “Taiwan’s people will never choose dictatorship nor bow to violence”. “Force and unilateral decisions are not the way to resolve problems,” he said.
Analysis By Vipasha Kaushal