Beijing [China], August 20 (ANI): China has begun military exercises surrounding Taiwan as a “stern warning” to so-called separatist forces on the self-governed island, Al Jazeera reported.
On Saturday, tensions between China and Taiwan rose as Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai returned to Taipei following two stops in the United States as part of a trip to Paraguay.
Lai’s transits through the United States have enraged Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of their country while the latter called itself a sovereign and independent country and not part of the former, according to Al Jazeera.
Taiwan on Saturday also termed China as the “bully next door”, adding that Beijing should hold its own election instead of shaping Taipei.
“The #PRC has made it clear it wants to shape #Taiwan’s coming national election. Well, it’s up to our citizens to decide, not the bully next door. Look, #China should hold its own elections; I’m sure its people would be thrilled,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said on microblogging site X.
Taiwan on Saturday detected 42 warplane incursions into its air defence zone since China announced the launch of military drills, the country’s Defence Ministry said.
“Since 0900 (UTC+8) today (Aug. 19), the R.O.C. Armed Forces detected 42 PLA aircraft (including KJ-500, Y-9, J-10, J-11, J-16, SU-30 etc.), 26 of which crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. Additionally, the PLA aircraft conducted joint combat patrol with 8 PLAN vessels,” Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence said on X, formerly Twitter.
“The R.O.C. Armed Forces are closely monitoring the situation with our ISR system and have deployed CAP aircraft, naval vessels, and land-based missile systems in response,” it added.
Why China is so upset about Lai’s visit to the United States:
Taiwan has been claimed by the People’s Republic of China as its territory since the defeated Republic of China government fled to the island in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s Communist forces.
China has time and again called on US officials not to engage with Taiwanese leaders or allow them into the US under any circumstances, citing “collusion” between Taipei and Washington, as reported by Al Jazeera.
Beijing has not ruled out the use of force to seize control of the democratic, self-governing island, and has increased military manoeuvres in the area around the island in recent years.
China passed a law in 2005 that gives Beijing the legal basis for military action against Taiwan if it secedes or seems to be ready to secede.
Why is China so hostile to William Lai?
China regards Lai as a separatist, based on his claims about being a “worker” for Taiwan’s independence.
While Taiwan and the US claim Lai’s transits through the US were regular and had nothing to do with China, Beijing claims Lai’s trips were in favour of Taiwan’s “independence” and a “disguise” to “seek gains in the local election through dishonest moves.”
Lai is the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate for the January elections, and he is currently leading the polls, reported Al Jazeera.
How are Taiwan-US relations?
In 1979, the United States severed official relations with the Taipei government and instead acknowledged the Beijing government. At that time, a defence treaty between Taiwan and the United States was terminated.
Since 1979, The Taiwan Relations Act governs the US-Taiwan ties, giving Washington a legal basis to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself but without mandating that the US come to Taiwan’s help if it is attacked.
While the United States has traditionally maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the case of a Chinese invasion, current US President Joe Biden has changed the dial, stating he is willing to use force to defend Taiwan, as reported by Al Jazeera.
Washington continues to be Taipei’s most important supply of armaments, and Taiwan’s contested status remains a cause of contention between Beijing and Washington.
What does Taiwan say?
Taiwan’s government claims that because the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island, it has no authority to claim sovereignty over it, speak for it, or represent it on the global stage, and that only the people of Taiwan can decide their future.
Taiwan’s official name remains the Republic of China, while the government now frequently stylizes it as the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Taiwan is formally recognised by just 13 countries: Belize, Guatemala, Haiti, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, Eswatini, and the Vatican City.
After Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s president in 2016, nine countries shifted allegiances to China, and Beijing has amplified its diplomatic efforts to isolate Taiwan.
Taiwan’s government claims that it is a sovereign country with the right to state-to-state ties.
What is the state of relations between Taipei and Beijing?
China regards Tsai as a separatist and has repeatedly rejected her demands for negotiations.
Tsai favours peace, but her administration will defend Taiwan if it is attacked.
According to Beijing, Tsai must realise that China and Taiwan are part of a “one China”.
Neither side recognises the other, and China shut down all formal contact mechanisms after Tsai took government for the first time in 2016, Al Jazeera reported. (ANI)
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