US-China Tensions Peak over Taiwan


Munir Ahmed

US President Joe Biden is interested in cultivating a new strategic partnership with Taiwan in the backdrop of the emerging geopolitical situation

Russia and China are the two countries in this part of the world that bother the US. Even their peaceful economic growth and issues in their neighbourhood become the priority agenda for the US and their allies, living miles away and having no threats of any sort. After successfully engaging Russia in a war with Ukraine, now they’re all against China and fueling China’s ageing conflict with Taiwan.
After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she might visit Taiwan this week, Beijing has warned of a ‘military’ response if US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan. She is leading a Congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific region, including visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Her office press statement did not mention her visit to Taiwan, though she has said in a separate statement that “she might visit Taiwan.”
Taiwan, at present, is a self-ruled island claimed by China. The island of 23 million people 80 miles off the coast of China, has long been a point of tension between Washington and Beijing. Now those tensions are at a new high as Ms Pelosi is expected to be there this week. She would be the highest-level American official to go to the island since 1997 when Newt Gingrich made a visit.
China claims Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to take it back. BBC reported that historical sources suggest that the island first came under full Chinese control in the 17th Century when the Qing dynasty began administering it. Then, in 1895, they gave up the island to Japan after losing the first Sino-Japanese war. China took the island again in 1945 after Japan lost World War II. But after a civil war between Nationalists and Communist Party. The communists won in 1949 and took control of Beijing. The nationalist party leaders fled to Taiwan, where they ruled for the next several decades.
Now, Taiwan is a US trade partner and a producer of high-quality semiconductors. It is strategically placed in the Indo-Pacific region that could help the US to contain China. So, US President Joe Biden is interested in cultivating a new strategic partnership with Taiwan in the backdrop of the emerging geopolitical situation.
Different geopolitical experts have hinted that Ms Pelosi’s “might be” visit to Taiwan is “surely expected”. It is an envisaged and planned strategy to support Taiwan as an independent state and to strengthen trade and geopolitical ties. The 19th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, organized on 10-12 June this year in Singapore, has been very meaningful for the US agenda. Though the strategic outcome of the recent SLD was not made public for secretive actions approved for the Indo-Pacific region.
Strange was the presence of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. He was the special guest of the US at the Shangri-La Dialogue and toed the US mood at the Singapore forum. Zelensky drew a parallel between the Russia-Ukraine confrontation and the potential conflict between Beijing and Taipei. In particular, the Ukrainian president said “there was an urgent need for international support for Taiwan before China attacks it”.
An opinion has been apparent that the White House, to provoke a new round of tensions around the Taiwan issue, is ready to sacrifice Ukrainian-Chinese relations, which are already in a critical state after the scandal around the Zaporozhye Motor-Sich plant. It is known that the Chinese paid money for joint stock control of the plant, but at the behest of the US, the Kiev authorities torpedoed the deal. The current situation is a continuation of Washington’s unscrupulous political course, which is increasingly using Kyiv and the Ukrainian crisis to pursue its own imperial ambitions.
The timing of when Mr Xi might try to absorb Taiwan remains a question of huge debate among military and civilian experts on China, but it is not expected to be imminent. The geopolitical expert William H. Overholt, a senior research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, believes that China does want Taiwan back badly, but that does not mean it wants an early bloody war that would destroy China’s economic miracle.”
In a fiery speech at the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China last year, Mr Xi Jinping stressed the need for the mainland’s unification with Taiwan, which he called “a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China.”
China does want Taiwan back but through smooth strategic and economic interventions. The US is deeply interested to engage China and Taiwan in the same bloody war the Communist Party of China and the Nationalist Party had been fighting for years to take control of Beijing. Both belong to the same land historically. They need to have peace talks for the reunion of Taiwan with China to complete the historic picture. A reunion would pay back the Taiwanese the ultimate economic growth and strategic strength than toeing the external lines against China and other like-minds.