The foreign relations between the two countries is a contingent process. The behaviour of one state creates a reciprocal effect. Recently, in the international community, the relationship between China and the US is becoming sour. After getting favourable response from UNO in terms of trade tariffs against the US, the US has turned to make a diplomatic relationship with the neighbouring countries of China. Last month, US and Taiwan announced new economic plans that focused on health care, energy resource, expertise in technology and other sectors of the economy. Both hope to end the talks with a free trade agreement.
Moreover, the US president also has started military engagements to support Taiwan, increasing its sale to Taiwan. It has introduced seven arms and weapons package with Taiwan, which is also proposed to be used for events of conflict hitting Chinese targets. It is one of the magnanimous projects, worth in billions, transferred recently to a country by the US.
The US representative has visited the second time in two months to Taiwan. In mid-August, Alex Azar, US secretary of Health and Human Services, visited Taiwan to talk over the prevention of coronavirus. Nonetheless, it also depicted symbolic support for Taiwan from the Trump presidency.
More recently, on Thursday, the trip of an economic representative from the US to attend a memorial service for former President Lee Teng-Hui, Keith Karch, who is the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, to Taiwan. Karch visit holds great importance as Karch is the highest-level official from the US department of state to visit Taiwan in decades. It reiterates that Trump is putting an extra effort to counter China’s military entanglements against Taiwan to isolate Taiwan on the global forum. To prevent it, the US is helping Taiwan fight back through military help and support to Taiwan.
The meeting was in support of the island, to defy the threats Taiwan has been receiving from China, that added fuel to the already souring relationship between China and the US.
In reaction to these visits, China that claims the territory of Taiwan as China’s own and thus, does not allow formal exchanges with Taiwan. China stepped into military
It must be highlighted here that the foreign relations between the US and Taiwan are not new. They have close ties since 1949 when it breaks out from China after the civil war. However, China and the US tied formal diplomatic relationship in 1979, the relationship between Taiwan and the US never got to higher levels. As do the other state countries, US also could not take the risk of enraging a democracy of around a quarter-million people. Therefore, it kept subtleties with Taiwan until recently it chose to build apparent and strong ties with Taiwan in reaction to China rising and getting fame in the international community.
For Taiwan, the trip is an opportunity to demonstrate stronger ties with the United States as relations with China become increasingly tense. The Chinese military has also recently conducted a spate of anti-ship ballistic missile tests, which experts said were intended as an explicit warning to the United States.
China showed a bellicose reaction and immediately stepped up military activities in less than a day after Krach left after the visit from Taiwan. China sent two anti-submarine air-jets towards Taiwan, in the straits that separate China from Taiwan, into the island’s South-West Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). Even though a week before China showed up in Taiwan straits that separates China from Taiwan, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense cautioned China several times from entering its ADIZ. The ministry of Taiwan claimed that the aircraft was warned back to their land by Taiwan’s air-force.
Tsai Shih-Ying, a member from the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan, said, “Right now, the focus is to let China know that Taiwan will not bow to the threat of force.”
The visit has enraged China; nevertheless, ties with the US are a stark opportunity for Taiwan. However, Taiwan is actively participating in pushing back China from its water territories. In the meantime, China is also resisting the strength Taiwan receives in the form of military enhancement from the US. According to a military strategist of China, that escalation of the crisis is inevitable because without these only oral protests will be left which would not produce favourable outcomes for China. It will lose control over the Taiwan Strait crisis. However, many others do not think a significant escalation is required.
The near future of Taiwan and China’s relationship looks like a depiction of realist ideas. China will make sure its national interest is not curbed in the South China Sea at any cost. However, the world now is getting stronger and more robust in terms of multilateralism. The concept of one-to-one relationships in foreign affairs has become obsolete. There are multiple state and non-state actors involved, and so is in the case of China and Taiwan. Other countries will interfere because there is either collateral damage because of the strong interconnectivity of absolute advantage for all. As far for interference from the US side in the whole China and Taiwan crisis, it is again to contain China and not let China supersede the US. Stopping China would favour not only Taiwan but keep a balance in the global decorum.
Maryam Asif is currently studying Political Science at Punjab University and has her interests in power politics and international organizations.