After years of conflict between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the issue still stands many supporting Taiwan’s sovereignty while others propagating the unification of Taiwan with Mainland China.
Recently, there were growing apprehensions that China could try to invade Taiwan and unify the so-called ‘break-away’ province when the rest of the world was busy in dealing with COVID-19 pandemic.
As EurAsian Times reported earlier that Taiwan is vehemently backed by the US and other western and regional powers. Recently, China’s aircraft carrier, Liaoning, and a convoy of five warships sailed close to Taiwan through the Miyako Strait. Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies called the move “particularly aggressive” and sees it as testing Taiwanese defences.
Shih Ming-teh, a renowned political activist in Taiwan is of the view that China does not realize that it takes more than just fancy weapons to successfully invade Taiwan. “Beijing always claims that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, a lie constantly reiterated by the expansionists regime.
His argument is based by countering the two points that “PRC sympathizers in Taiwan” make. Firstly, he rejects the argument that China is incredibly powerful in all its history. He says that the theory of “two big economies” doesn’t hold true because even Japan was ranked as the world’s second-largest economy after being defeated.
“China’s modern-day strength, no matter how incomparable to past levels, will never surpass the USSR during its heyday facing off against the U.S.,” writes Ming-teh.
The second point that he rebuts is that the US will not send its young soldiers to defend Taiwan against a possible war with China. He claims that it’s not the US that’s reluctant to fight a war, but China is unwilling to fight the US because of the massive economic gap between the two countries.
Currently, the U.S. per capita income is US$60,000, while China’s is only US$9,700 which means that Beijing has failed in its anti-poverty plan.
Additionally, in 2019, the US President announced a new arm of a military branch: Space Force which further puts the US ahead of any other country in the world. “China is, at most, still in the early days of becoming a formidable empire. Chinese leaders know this better than those rambunctious cyber warriors, academic scholars, and military generals,” writes Ming-teh.
He also talks about the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) that binds Taiwan, China and the US. “As long as Taiwan doesn’t take a unilateral approach to change the status quo, if China took military action against Taiwan, the U.S. would have an obligation to intervene,” writes Ming-teh.
He further says that TRA is the reason why neither Taiwan nor China attempts to undermine forty years of peace. The author further claims that relations between China and Taiwan began as late as 1945 to 1949.
At that time, the occupation of Taiwan by the Republic f China was a “military occupation” according to international law, and the right of occupation came from General MacArthur, the WWII Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in the Pacific Theater.
He says that this “occupation” was a military operation during wartime and not an occupation under international law. The permanent legal status of this occupation must be confirmed by a joint contract between the belligerents. Thus the PRC does not have the right to unilaterally claim Taiwan.
The author finally concludes that only the Taiwanese people and the current government of Taiwan have legal sovereignty over the island while indirectly reassuring the readers that an attack on Taiwan would see the collapse of China.