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Why are China and the US fighting over Taiwan? Can this lead to a war in the world’s biggest chip manufacturing country?

The ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still function is the test of a first-­rate intelligence, according to F. Scott Fitzgerald. For decades, an experiment in high-calibre uncertainty has preserved the peace between America and China over Taiwan, a 24 million people country, 100 miles (160 kilometres) off China’s coast. Beijing’s leaders say that there is only one China, which they govern, and that Taiwan is a rebellious part of it. America acknowledges the one-China concept but has invested 70 years ensuring there are two.
Today, however, this strategic ambiguity is breaking down. The US is becoming concerned that it will no longer be able to prevent China from taking Taiwan by force. Admiral Phil Davidson, the commander of the Indo­Pacific Command, warned Congress in March that China might invade Taiwan as early as 2027.
Why can disturbance among China, the US and Taiwan be disastrous?
War will be a catastrophe, and not only because of the bloodshed in Taiwan and the possibility of nuclear escalation between two nuclear powers. One explanation is financial. The semiconductor industry is centred on the island. TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited), the world’s most profitable chipmaker, is responsible for 84 per cent of the world’s most innovative chips. If TSMC supply and demand is ceased, so would the global electronics market, at an unquantifiable expense. The company’s technologies and know-how are maybe a decade ahead of its competitors, and it would take several years of effort for either America or China to catch up.
The bigger explanation is that Taiwan serves as a battleground for the China-American rivalry. While the US is not obligated by the treaty to protect Taiwan, a Chinese invasion will put America’s military might, diplomatic and political commitment to the test. If the Seventh Fleet fails to arrive, China will become Asia’s ruling force overnight. It would be clear to America’s allies across the world that they could not rely on it. Pax American would collapse.
How can this catastrophic war be prevented?
To understand how to avoid war in the Taiwan Strait, consider the contradictions that have held the peace for the past few decades. Beijing’s government maintains that it has a responsibility to bring about reconciliation, even though it means invading. Taiwanese, who used to accept that their island was a part of China (albeit a non-­communist one), have begun to elect governments that emphasize its independence while falling short of claiming freedom. America has defended Taiwan from China’s violence. These competing proposals are connected to the so-called status quo blithely by Fitzgerald’s diplomatic heritage. It is really a rolling neurotic and doubtful source.
taiwan caught in us-china diplomatic crossfire - nikkei asia
What is the present status of these 3 entities?
What has recently shifted is America’s view of a 25-year-in-the-making tipping point in China’s cross-strait military buildup. In the last five years, China’s navy has launched 90 major ships and submarines, four or five times more than the United States in the western Pacific. Each year, China had produced over 100 advanced fighter planes, has launched space rockets, and is armed with guided missiles capable of striking Taiwan, US Navy ships, and American bases in Japan, South Korea, and Guam. The United States has begun to lose war games simulating a Chinese assault on Taiwan.
Military dominance, according to some American experts, would tempt China to use force against Taiwan sooner or later, not as a last resort, but because it feels it should. China has convinced itself that the United States needs to keep the Taiwan crisis raging and that it might also try to go to war to stop China’s growth. It has devalued a parallel bid aimed at persuading the citizens of Taiwan to peaceful reconciliation. It is transforming barren reefs into military bases in the South China Sea.
Although China has clearly become more authoritarian and nationalistic, this review is overly pessimistic—perhaps because anti-China sentiment is becoming the norm in the United States. China’s president, Xi Jinping, has not yet started to brace his people for a conflict that is expected to result in mass deaths and economic pain on both sides. In its 100th year, China’s Communist Party is staking its claim to power on growth, peace, and the country’s rising presence in the world. All of that will be jeopardized by an attack whose outcome, whatever the US Navy claims, is fraught with doubt, not least about how to rule a defiant Taiwan. Why would Mr. Xi take such a gamble now, when China should wait until the chances are much better?
However, this is just a little consolation. Nobody in America really knows what Mr. Xi wants right now, let alone what he or his replacement may want in the future. China’s impatience is only going to rise. Mr. Xi’s appetite for risk can increase, particularly if he wants unification with Taiwan to be the pinnacle of his legacy.
What are the probable solutions to avoid the war?
America and Taiwan must plan accordingly if they are to avoid war from being too dangerous for China. It will take years to re­establish equilibrium around the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan must consider allocating less money to large, costly military systems that are vulnerable to Chinese missiles, and instead focus on strategies and techniques that can frustrate an invasion.
To stop China from conducting an amphibious assault, America needs weapons; it also needs to ready its allies, including Japan and South Korea; and it needs to convince China that its war plans are credible. This would be a difficult balance to achieve. Deterrence generally aims to be as transparent as possible when it comes to revenge. The message is more subdued in this case.
China must be prohibited from attempting to change Taiwan’s status by coercion, while still being told that the United States will not accept Taiwan’s bid for formal independence. A superpower arms race poses a significant threat and illusioned by the difficulty of maintaining certainty. In Washington and Beijing, Hawks will still portray it as a weakness. And yet apparently useful demonstrations of support for Taiwan, including American warships calling on the island, maybe misleading as a risky change of intentions. It is best to repose most conflicts. Some which can just be settled in battle can also be postponed and left to wiser generations, as China’s late leader Deng Xiaoping said. There is nothing so risky on Earth that tests the statehood.

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