Is war between China and Taiwan still preventable?

While the spectre of war between China and Taiwan is a serious concern, it is not an inevitability.

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China's president Xi Jinping and Taiwan's incumbent president, Tsai Ing-wen

The longstanding tension between China and Taiwan has been a source of concern for the international community for decades. The historical complexities, political differences, and nationalistic sentiments involved make the situation highly delicate. The question that looms large is whether a war between China and Taiwan is still preventable or if the world is moving inevitably toward a conflict that could have far-reaching consequences.

The arguments

In recent years, tensions between China and Taiwan have escalated, with Beijing taking a more assertive stance. China has increased military exercises near Taiwan, prompting concerns about a potential invasion.

This has forced the global community to closely monitor the situation, urging restraint and a peaceful resolution to avoid a conflict that could have devastating consequences.

On the other hand, nationalism plays a significant role on both sides, with the Chinese government emphasizing the reunification of the country and the Taiwanese population increasingly asserting its distinct identity.

Taiwan has received support from various countries, including the United States, which has supplied arms and maintained a stance of strategic ambiguity regarding defence commitments. This support has irked China and increased the likelihood of a confrontation.

Then Taiwan over the weekend elected a new president, Lai Ching-te who vowed to ensure that Taiwan remains independent of China.

During the reading of his victory speech on Saturday, Lai asserted his stance on an independent Taiwan, sharing with supporters, ‘The election has shown the world the commitment of the Taiwanese people to democracy, which I hope China can understand. At the same time, we’re also determined to safeguard Taiwan from continuing threats and intimidation from China.”

Despite the high tensions between the two countries, there is a need to engage in diplomatic efforts and foster open dialogue to find common ground and prevent the situation from escalating.

Although the possibility of war between China and Taiwan raises serious concerns, it is not an unavoidable outcome. The key to preventing a full-blown conflict lies in diplomatic efforts, sustained dialogue, and international cooperation. The global community needs to collaborate in finding peaceful resolutions that acknowledge the historical complexities and nationalistic sentiments embedded in the Taiwan-China relationship.

The facts

The roots of the Taiwan-China conflict can be traced back to the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950), which resulted in the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland and the retreat of the Republic of China (ROC) government to Taiwan. Since then, both entities have maintained separate governments, each claiming to be the legitimate ruler of all of China.

The international community has largely adhered to the “One-China” policy, recognizing the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government. However, Taiwan has operated as a separate, self-governing entity with its political system, military, and constitution. China views Taiwan as a disloyal province that must be reunified with the mainland at all costs.

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