The President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, recently said that the national unification of Taiwan by peaceful means could and will soon be realized. It was the moment of the 110th anniversary of the 1911 revolution, celebrated every year on 10 October; this is also known as the Xinhai Revolution in China. On the other hand, it is celebrated as the National Day in Taiwan.
The Xinhai revolution is a significant step in the history of China. The revolution began at Wuchang province on 10 October, 110 years ago. One can realize the importance of this revolution because it led to the end of the long-lasting Qing dynasty, and it was only after this event that the Republic of China (ROC) was established.
However, after the end of the civil war, which was fought between the two prominent ideologies, i.e., Nationalists and the Communists, took different paths, which is the reason for the present-day geopolitical scenario in the region. The communist leader, Mao Zedong, and his Communist Party of China (CCP) laid the foundation stone of the current People’s Republic of China in 1949. On the other hand, the Nationalists counterpart, the Kuomintang party (KMT), led by Chiang Kai – Shek, fled to Taiwan and pronounced Taipei as the capital of the Republic of China.
President’s Address to the Nation
According to the President, “National unification by peaceful means best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, including the compatriots in Taiwan,” as per the official news agency of China Xinhua.
Xi also said he would continue to work on similar lines. “The past 110 years have shown us that that to realize national rejuvenation, the Chinese people must have a strong force to lead us forward, and that force is the Communist Party of China.”
The People’s Republic of China believes in the concept of “one nation theory,” under which all the provinces are unified. On the other hand, followers of nationalists’ ideology believe in maintaining the sovereignty of Taiwan.
Recently, this conflict has been amplified as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force invaded the aerial sovereignty of Taiwan as identified by the Air Defense Identification Zone of Taiwan. It was initiated on 1 October with the number of such aircraft being 38, which is also the occasion of the National Day in China. This number of aircraft rose to 39 on a subsequent day, and on 4 October, it escalated up to 56. Taiwan’s defense minister said that the tension between the two has peaked after this incident during the past 40 years.
The present escalated tension in the region has been caused as the current President of Taiwan, Ms. Tsai, and her political party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is seen to pursue its ideology of gaining independence. Another cause is that she was elected for the second term in 2020 after winning the 2016 election, which has led Beijing to show its power on this island.
Politics of Taiwan
The Kuomintang party (KMT), which the mainlanders’ descendants dominate, believes in the One China Policy.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which mostly consists of the indigenous population, advocates for the independence of the territory. However, due to aggressive threats from China and lack of international support, the demand for independence has been muted for a state with its constitution and national anthem.
China’s Policy for the Region
China adopted a series of hard-line policies in the province of Hong Kong, which once claimed its independence and abandoned the “One Country, Two System” policy. The daily violation of its air defense and aggressive naval maneuvers is the way of Beijing to assert its power.
US in the Picture
Taiwan could not be occupied militarily. Therefore, during the Korean War of 1950-1953, the US, which supported South Korea, used Taiwan as a military base. In 1979, the US recognized the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of China and abrogated its mutual defense treaty with the island, and gradually reversed the policy of avoiding official level engagement with Taiwan.
Though the US does not support a declaration of independence by Taiwan, US defense personnel have been spotted while training with their Taiwanese counterpart.
Impact on Alliances in World Politics
The recent crystallization of the QUAD and AUKUS can deter Chinese moves on Taiwan. It may also propel China to advance the unification to assert its superiority. Hence, Taiwan is emerging as a potential trigger point for a clash of arms between the US and China.
As far as India is concerned, India should keep in mind all the possibilities before advancing in pursuing its Indo – Pacific strategy.