Taiwan, China and the United States

(Reuters) - Tensions escalated in Taiwan during a visit by U.S. Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach on Friday, as 18 Chinese aircraft buzzed the island, prompting Taiwan to scramble fighter jets

Reuters September 19, 2020 00:11:48 IST
Taiwan, China and the United States

Taiwan China and the United States

(Reuters) - Tensions escalated in Taiwan during a visit by U.S. Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach on Friday, as 18 Chinese aircraft buzzed the island, prompting Taiwan to scramble fighter jets.

Here are some facts about Taiwan's relations with China and the United States, and why the issue is so sensitive.

CHINA'S POSITION ON TAIWAN

China views democratic Taiwan as merely a wayward Chinese province and its "sacred" territory, awaiting the day the island can be brought under its control - peacefully or militarily - with no right to state-to-state relations.

China enacted an anti-secession law in 2005 that mandates the use of force if the government judges Taiwan to have declared independence, though it says "peaceful reunification" is its aim.

TAIWAN'S POSITION

Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party supports the island's separate identity from China and the right of Taiwan's people to decide their own future. President Tsai Ing-wen says Taiwan already is an independent country called the Republic of China, the island's formal name.

The party says that the People's Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan and that its unelected government has no right to speak for Taiwan's people, who choose their own leaders.

CHINA-U.S. TIES

Relations between Beijing and Washington have soured since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in 2017, with Taiwan just one of a number of destabilising factors.

The two sides have argued over trade, human rights, China's response to the new coronavirus pandemic and more recently the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok.

China calls Taiwan the most important, most sensitive issue in its relations with the United States.

TAIWAN-U.S. RELATIONS

The United States has ramped up arms sales to Taiwan, including tanks and fighter jets, and has taken an increasingly strident position in supporting Taiwan's role on the international stage, particularly at the World Health Organization (WHO).

In August, U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar visits Taipei, the highest-level visit in four decades. Krach is the highest ranking State Department official to visit Taiwan during that time.

TAIWAN-CHINA MILITARY TENSIONS

China maintains a massive numerical military advantage over Taiwan, and is adding advanced weaponry like stealthy fighters and aircraft carriers Taiwan cannot hope to match directly.

But Taiwan's armed forces are well trained and President Tsai has made their modernisation a priority.

Chinese jets and aircraft make regular forays into the airspace and seas around Taiwan, which Taipei denounces as attempts at intimidation. The two have not fired a shot in anger in decades.

(Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.