When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed her visit to Taiwan amid several warnings from China, it ramped up long-simmering Chinese hostility to the West and Taiwan China.
China treats any US support to Taiwan as a dismissal of its claim on sovereignty in the region. They are claiming Taiwan as a province and an area that can easily be annexed by force (if necessary).
There are supporting nations that back Taiwan, and though the US has not released any official statement to formally recognize Taiwan outside China’s sovereignty, the US Navy’s on the move.
On Sunday, the USS Antietam and the USS Chancellors conducted a “routine Taiwan Strait transit,” following international law. The Navy released in their statement that they are passing “through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply.”
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Straight demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.”
But, China and its Communists do not see it that way.
“The troops of the PLA Eastern Theater Command always stay on high alert and get ready to thwart any provocation,” said senior Col. Shi Yi, spokesperson for the People Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command.
China’s claiming this could be interpreted as a direct provocation even though Taiwan’s defense ministry said they detected 23 Chinese aircraft and eight Chinese ships operating around their shores.
“Among the detected aircraft, seven crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait – an unofficial barrier between Taiwan and China,” according to the report.
On the other hand, Taiwan said the US Navy’s transit is perfectly “normal,” especially since they are following international laws.
Is China Acting Sooner?
Ever since Mao Zedong developed the People’s Republic of China, nothing has changed much within the Chinese Communist Party of 2022, and one thing has remained the same: Taiwan. Since 1949, Chinese leaders have been steadfast in their goal of “the complete reunification of the motherland,” including Taiwan. According to their statement, they don’t see it as a separate entity but as part of their territory. China’s calling out the US for not recognizing the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 to 1971 that pens the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the “sole legal government representing” Taiwan. And for them, “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.”
They also cited the China-U.S. Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations in 1979, stating:
“The United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.”
China also claims the US is “attempting to use Taiwan to contain China.”
“It [The US] constantly distorts, obscures, and hollows out the one-China principle, steps up its official exchanges with Taiwan, and emboldens “Taiwan independence” separatist activities. These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous. Those who play with fire will perish by it.”
Though there are activities around Taiwan, China could still be reluctant to go on the offensive because of two things. First, there’s an ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, which affects trade, international relations, and military expenditure since they’re helping Russia build up its artillery.
The next reason is experience. The People’s Liberation Army “hasn’t fought a war since 1979,” according to a SOFREP piece we did last yearSo even though they are building up more advanced artillery, it is hard to get a sense of certainty. They tried the invasion of Vietnam and failed.
Additionally, the US-China trade relations amount to trillions of dollars, and the question boils down to if they’re willing to lose all that for Taiwan. Maybe, maybe not.