The relationship between China and Taiwan has been tense for decades. Its future remains unclear making this one of the most hotly debated topics in East Asia. China wants Taiwan to be reintegrated into the mainland, but it doesn’t want to use force. Taiwan is wary of Beijing’s intentions and prefers to maintain its independence.

According to the South China Post, “Xi Jinping recently told Joe Biden that the mainland would take a ‘patient’ approach – a message reinforced by a recent Communist Party resolution.”

The one thing that really shows up when comparing the U.S. and China, two world powers, is that China always thinks long-term whereas the U.S. thinks short-term. This is largely because our political system is short-sighted by design, meaning our presidents think in terms of short election cycles. China by contrast can play the long game because Xi Jinping will likely lead the country for a life term.

So, I think it’s not a matter of if but of when China takes Taiwan.

In the short term, China will continue to fan the media flames in order to potentially distract from internal economic issues, especially its own real estate bubble.


China’s Strategy

China has long regarded Taiwan as a renegade province. For decades, Beijing has maintained the threat of military action in order to force reunification. But Beijing’s goal — to annex Taiwan by force — no longer looks feasible with global pressure from U.S. and European trade partners. Xi himself has said that they will wait patiently for reunification. So it’s very clear what China wants. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…

A recent survey found that only 19 percent of people in China think unification is possible by using military force. Since 2008, China has shifted its strategy and now believes that it can achieve reunification through economic incentives, sanctions, cultural infiltration, and the promise of political stability.