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Will Taiwan become Tibet of East Asia?

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Beginning of the New Year 2019 saw the Chinese President Xi Jinping  belligerence towards Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (RoC). President Xi Jinping proclaimed that Taiwan unification must be the ultimate goal of any discourse regarding its future and laid out unyielding position that use of force is not ruled out should Taipei asserts full independence. This is not the first time that China openly declared its intention on Taiwan. In December 1995, Chinese officials asked US Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Nye directly what would the US do if China attacked Taiwan. Nye’s response was: “We don’t know and you don’t know. It would depend upon circumstances.”

Beijing considers Taiwan( Formosa) as a breakaway province. RoC is self-governed but it has never formally announced independence from Mainland. The Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen had made it clear that the island nation would never consider reunification with China under the terms offered by Beijing. United States lent its weight behind Taipei by sending guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell and the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S.Diehl through Taiwan Strait. It has further heightened tensions between the US and China. Meanwhile, US Pacific Fleet spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Tim Gorman told Cable News Network that it was a “routine Taiwan Strait Transit” under international law. On the other hand,Taiwan’s navy showcased its latest long-range surveillance drone as a push to counter China’s increasingly muscular rhetoric. Both these moves are symbolic in nature yet an attempt was made to convey to Beijing that Taiwan will not become Tibet of East Asia.

Situated in the West Pacific between Japan and Phillippines, Taiwan is of strategic importance both for China and US. Taiwan (Formosa) lies at the edge of South China Sea shipping lanes. On the eve of Japan’s surrender in the World War-II, the State Department of US published a note on Taiwan which remarked: Strategic factors greatly influence the problem of Formosa. With the exception of Singapore no location in the Far East occupies such a controlling position. Regional powers like Japan in World War-II used Taiwan as a base both for defensive and offensive startegic purposes. It was a very important supply base for Japanese armies in South East Asia during their operations in Second World War. The US Navy commented in 1944 that: The island of Taiwan dominates the China coast and all coastwise shipping between Japan and South Eastern Asia. Its airfields and ports supported the movement of Japanese troops and supplies throughout the Southern theatres of action.

For China, Taiwan is not just a matter of territorial sovereignty as it claims but is important from its security point of view. The control of Taiwan would help China’s operations in South China Sea. It can then more effectively assert and settle its territorial claims against Phillippines,Brunei,Vietnam etc. If Beijing succeeds in the unification of Taiwan then it will be able to use its deep water ports for its submarines to venture into Pacific Ocean. This will project China’s power in Pacific and will be a challenge to US naval assests. Beijing knows that if an external power occupies or make a base in Taiwan then it can cut-off China’s trade lines and a naval blockade could be a catastrophe for China’s rise as an economic and military power.

When two elephants fight, it is the grass that is trampled. But some 23 million Taiwanese people do not want their fate to be that of grass. Taiwan’s loss of the China seat at the United Nations in 1971 was internationally the culmination of a slow erosion in support for the RoC. History reminds us of the destiny of Tibetans at a time when China was not so powerful economically and militarily. The question is can Taiwan defend itself against China if it really uses the force as claimed by Chinese President Xi Jinping? Today, the Chinese expansion of naval assets and capabilities in South China Sea will definitely alter the dynamics of war should it occur between People’s Republic of China and RoC. With UK trying to overcome Brexit imbroglio and France trying to put its own house in order, US may not get the full support of allies against China over Taiwan.

Taiwan is not just a symbol of democracy at the gate of authoritarian Communist China which should be morally supported and militarily protected by Western world but its geographical location has made it a vital piece on global chess board of politics which is being played between US and China. The answer to the future of Taiwan lies in the womb of time but the clock is ticking for Taipei as China flexes its economic, diplomatic and military muscle.

 

 

 

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On 2/10/2019 at 5:44 AM, ronwagn said:

Respectfully, Ron, what a load of crap.  China would overwhelm the island, and it would not take that long.  The article totally forgets that China was able to fend off the U.S. in Korea simply by keeping a steady flow of troops coming down from the north; it was not the North Koreans that accomplished that, it was China.  That was then; this is now.  Simply put, if China ordered Taiwan taken, it would be taken, the rest of the world be damned.

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A comment on the OP:  Taiwan to China is every bit as much a part of China as Hawaii is a part of the United States.  The island was controlled at different times by different rulers, some that claimed national sovereignty; some that were basically pirates and rogues, but the Chinese were there from as early as 1683 when the Qing dynasty took control.  The Kuomintang fled to Taiwan in 1945 when Chiang Kai-Shek lost to Mao Tse Dong and, as such, to China it is nothing more than unfinished internal business that needs to be cleaned up and returned one day.  I believe that day will come, when the time is right and the world is distracted elsewhere. 

Note: there is a lot to this question, but I believe the above is true from a territorial perspective, no matter what other countries would like things to be or how they know the power of the location of this island and its resources and "friendly" occupants (who are Chinese, by the way.).

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6 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

A comment on the OP:  Taiwan to China is every bit as much a part of China as Hawaii is a part of the United States.  The island was controlled at different times by different rulers, some that claimed national sovereignty; some that were basically pirates and rogues, but the Chinese were there from as early as 1683 when the Qing dynasty took control.  The Kuomintang fled to Taiwan in 1945 when Chiang Kai-Shek lost to Mao Tse Dong and, as such, to China it is nothing more than unfinished internal business that needs to be cleaned up and returned one day.  I believe that day will come, when the time is right and the world is distracted elsewhere. 

Note: there is a lot to this question, but I believe the above is true from a territorial perspective, no matter what other countries would like things to be or how they know the power of the location of this island and its resources and "friendly" occupants (who are Chinese, by the way.).

Just quoting an article Dan, didn't mean to get anyone riled up. American policy has always been to stand with Taiwan as much as possible. I recall this all the way back to the Quemoy and Matsu debate between Nixon and Kennedy. 

I believe that China could conquer Taiwan. The question I have, and China has is what would be the cost benefit ratio to China. I think the status quo is much better for them in the short and long term. Meanwhile I think it is in our interest to trade freely with Taiwan and to encourage freedom around the world. When we stop doing that we are not being Americans IMO. 

Here is my China topic https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Wb2YoQGpSWTz32ljsiA_ey6FLVqc2Dpe7Fnpiqn9lBs/edit

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17 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Just quoting an article Dan, didn't mean to get anyone riled up. American policy has always been to stand with Taiwan as much as possible. I recall this all the way back to the Quemoy and Matsu debate between Nixon and Kennedy. 

I believe that China could conquer Taiwan. The question I have, and China has is what would be the cost benefit ratio to China. I think the status quo is much better for them in the short and long term. Meanwhile I think it is in our interest to trade freely with Taiwan and to encourage freedom around the world. When we stop doing that we are not being Americans IMO. 

Here is my China topic https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Wb2YoQGpSWTz32ljsiA_ey6FLVqc2Dpe7Fnpiqn9lBs/edit

I'm not riled up at all; I just find the topic interesting after my experiences with both the mainland and Taiwan (and U.S. rhetoric where it concerns both).  I will say that the support given to Taiwan up to present day has not been for altruistic reasons such as democracy, freedom and the rule of law.  Here is a good timeline that was posted on Reuters some years ago:

Timeline: Taiwan's road to democracy

U.S. interests in Taiwan are blatantly defensive and controlling in nature, at least that's the way I see it.  Similar to South Korea, if not exactly the same.

The cost benefit ratio?  For military purposes alone the benefits far outweigh the costs.  I have outlined in other posts some time back how China, by and large, have been the victims of expansionism and militarism by other nations for the past 1-200 years or more.  They have not, as yet, invaded militarily in modern times, although they have every reason to want to get back at the people/nations that mercilessly raped and murdered their people and and took whatever else they wanted along the way (as occupying militaries are wont to do).

The day will come, and the U.S., in my opinion, will rant and rave and try to get the rest of the world to rant and rave, but in the end there won't be much they can practically do, give the cost to benefit ratio of any such actions.  The time will come and, if Taiwan is smart, they will blend back together relatively seamlessly.  Similar to Hong Kong, Tibet and Mongolia; there has been some pain, but by and large it went seamlessly and the world did little else but rant and rave.

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I hope that Taiwan can remain independent but agree that China has been abused by the Colonialist Europeans and by Japan. Before that by northern invaders. China has done the same thing to Tibet. I respect the Chinese culture but do not have any love for communism or fascism which is IMO a better name for the type of government China has. It is definitely a totalitarian dictatorship and even has Xi as a dictator for life, or until he can be somehow deposed. Christians are being increasingly repressed as Falun Gong and now the Muslims have been. 

 

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20 hours ago, ronwagn said:

I hope that Taiwan can remain independent but agree that China has been abused by the Colonialist Europeans and by Japan. Before that by northern invaders. China has done the same thing to Tibet. I respect the Chinese culture but do not have any love for communism or fascism which is IMO a better name for the type of government China has. It is definitely a totalitarian dictatorship and even has Xi as a dictator for life, or until he can be somehow deposed. Christians are being increasingly repressed as Falun Gong and now the Muslims have been. 

 

I also hope that Taiwan can remain independent, for the people's sake.  Having said that, the Taiwanese people are Chinese and they act like Chinese and they think like Chinese and they work together as if they are communists themselves.  Go have a visit sometime, for business or pleasure, and you will/may see what I mean.  I mean their independence may become inconvenient or even dangerous in the future, and they may find it preferable to rejoin the mainland.  As far as Tibet, and the "Christians" are concerned, that it is one of the things I like about China: they don't believe in fairy tales and get on with the business of survival and progress.  They have learned that they have to fight to defend what's theirs, same as you and I, and that is the story behind the repatriation (I hope I use that term correctly) of Hong Kong, Tibet, Mongolia and, some day, Taiwan.  I'm impressed that China chooses to try to use smart strategies that don't include war, so far.  To me, that implies an underlying intelligence and long term planning (although I have said they don't use the long term stuff as much as in the past, I meant as far as some businesses are concerned).

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