Taiwan: Learn about the island’s history and how tensions with communist China have risen again | World

Since the end of last week, the Chinese Armed Forces have been carrying out military maneuvers near Taiwan – this is the biggest show of Chinese force near the island in history.

The trigger for these military exercises was a trip by Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives (deputies), which the Chinese government called a provocation (for China, Taiwan is part of its territory).

  • Chinese warplanes enter Taiwan’s defense zone, and Taipei responds
  • After all, what is Taiwan and why is the island strategic for world powers

The Chinese government’s tactic may be to try to make the military presence around Taiwan something more acceptable and naturalized.

Chinese war helicopter during military exercises near Taiwan on Aug 9, 2022 — Photo: China Armed Forces/Via Reuters

Taiwan, an island of 23 million people 130 kilometers off the coast, is claimed by China — the Chinese have already said they intend to retake the territory, even with force if necessary.

The island is a democracy and has a history of hundreds of years with the mainland country. In the 20th century, the islands were occupied by Japan until World War II.

After that, the island returned to China, which, at that time, was going through a struggle between the communist forces of Mao Tse Tung and the nationalist troops of Chiang Kai-Shek.

Military exercises in Taiwan on August 9, 2022 — Photo: Ann Wang/Reuters

Below is a timeline to understand the conflict between China and Taiwan:

  • 1949: Communist forces, led by Mao, seize power in Beijing after defeating nationalists led by Chiang Kai-Shek in a civil war. The nationalists go to the island of Taiwan and break off relations with mainland China.
  • 1950: With the Korean War in the background, Taiwan allies with the US. The Americans use the territory of Taiwan for their strategies on the Korean peninsula.
  • 1954-1955: Beijing attacks some of Taiwan’s islands, which come under Chinese rule.
  • 1958: Beijing attacks other islands, close to the mainland. Taiwan responds, with the aid of American weapons and manages to maintain control of these islands.

China exercises seen from island near Taiwan

China exercises seen from island near Taiwan

  • 1979 : The US changes and starts to support the “one China” policy. This implies recognition of Beijing as the legitimate government. The Chinese leader at the time, Deng Xiaoping, adopted the concept of “one country, two systems” for the island of Taiwan and began to seek a peaceful unification with the archipelago, not a takeover by force. The US resumes diplomatic relations with China but, by law, is forced to help Taiwan defend itself.
  • 1995: Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui visits the US for a meeting at a university and the Chinese government complains.

Map shows the location of Taiwan near China — Photo: g1

  • 1996: Taiwan holds its first direct presidential vote. In response, the Chinese government launches missiles into waters near Taiwan; the Americans dispatch planes to the region.
  • 2000: Chen Shui-bian is elected president of Taiwan, marking the first time in power by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which supports Taiwan’s sovereignty and formal independence.
  • 2005: The government of China adopts an anti-independence (of its territories) bill in March that makes secession from Taiwan illegal. In April, leaders of Taiwan’s main opposition meet with the Communist Party of China for the first time since 1949.
  • 2008 May: KMT-backed President Ma Ying-jeou, who favors closer ties with China, comes to power and puts aside political disputes with China to discuss deals ranging from tourism to commercial flights.
  • 2016 : Tsai Ing-wen, the current president of Taiwan, wins elections with a bid to take on China. In June, China suspended official communications with Taiwan.
  • December 2016: Donald Trump speaks directly over the phone to President Tsai Ing-wen.
  • 2022: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives (Deputies) visits Taiwan. In response, China begins military exercises near Taiwan. Chinese aircraft have crossed the line of the Taiwan Strait, which delimits the two countries’ airspace. In response, the Taiwanese government also began conducting military exercises with live ammunition.

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