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China goes from hidden dragon to attacking tiger, sends 21 military aircraft to Taiwan amidst rising tensions in the region. Does this mark the end of Taiwan’s independence? 

Chinese aircrafts detected in Taiwan, amidst threats of the Chinese government claiming the region as theirs 

 

With cross-border terrorism most countries around Pakistan maintain it is a volatile neighbor. But there is another that surpassed even Pakistan in creating upheavals and violating the sovereignty of other nations, most recently of Taiwan again. That is The People’s Republic of China. 

In the 21st century there seems to be almost no country or region left that China shares a border with and doesn’t claim as its own. The giant nation has proclaimed huge chunks of the Asian continent and the sea as its own. 

Here is a list of regions that China has started to encroach or is already encroaching: 

  • Tibet, an erstwhile nation now under the the Communist Party 
  • Ladakh a Union Territory  in India 
  • Taiwan, an independent nation 
  • Land alongside Bhutan border
  • Gwadar port in Pakistan
  • Aksai Chin a region disputed by India
  • Land alongside Humla district of Nepal
  • Arunachal Pradesh a State of India 
  • Senkaku Islands of Japan
  • Paracel islands of Vietnam
  • South China Sea 

These are some of the regions that China has encroached and claims as their own. And as you can see there are no countries that China shares a border with and has not created problems for them. 

Every once in a while after making these claims the country makes some disruptions and violates the sovereignty of their neighbors. Either building canals, villages or bridges alongside the other side of the border or conspicuously sending in their army. 

As a recent violation, Taiwan detected as many as 21 Chinese aircraft in their country. 10 of which also breached their Air Defense Zone. Now this action comes at a time when the Communist Party of China (CCP) has made veiled threatening remarks against the independence of Taiwan. 

China’s spokesperson had already warned that anyone who plans for Taiwan’s independence will be “burned for playing with fire”. After once again publicly proclaiming Taiwan as theirs, this recent breach of Taiwan’s air zones has raised alarms for the benefactors of the said country, namely the U.S.A. 

Why does China claim Taiwan? 

Both these Asian countries have had a shared history filled with the complications of civil war and annexations. 

Taiwan has existed for 25000 years, independent of China. But after being taken by the Qing dynasty around the 17th century, Taiwan did become part of Greater China until 1912. 

A civil war that took place between both the regions during this year, resulted in the formation of the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan (Republic of China). 

Since then both the PRC and ROC have been at a point of contention claiming to be the sole representative of “China”. But as the UN members voted in favor of PRC, they are the ones to be globally recognized as “China”. 

And now the recognized China claims that Taiwan or the ROC does not exist as an independent sovereign region. Instead it is a part of their territory under Greater China. 

Out of 193 countries only 12 recognize Taiwan (Republic of China) and maintain direct diplomatic relations with it instead of through Beijing. 

Would the annexation of Taiwan be beneficial to China?

 

In contrast to China, which has gone through multiple political turmoil with the governance of the communist party, Taiwan on the other hand has had better unobstructed development. 

The industrialization and growth of Taiwan was so rapid that it was called the “Taiwan Miracle”. Since the 90s, Taiwan has also been a democracy with fairly elected leaders. 

The country also ranks quite high in terms of human development, education, health and nutrition, human rights protection and technological advancement. 

But more important than that, Taiwan is also a significant manufacturer of steel, chemicals and electronic machinery. If China were to completely annex Taiwan, then it will also take control of all these industries that are critical for manufacturing for arms and weapons. 

Along with that, as China looks forward to its hegemony in Asia, the control of the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean are important for dominating and controlling the exports of the continent. 

Taiwan also rests on the South China Sea and is one of its important islands as well. And islands make for very good military bases for countries as well. 

As the Quad made up of India, Australia, the U.S.A, and Japan, has risen as a force against China’s economic hegemony and potential military dominance; Taiwan is also at the right location for maritime warfare with both Japan and Australia

Is this really a violation of Taiwan’s sovereignty? 

Presence of a foreign country, that too a rival one, does violate sovereignty. But at the same time it isn’t reason enough to start a war. 

And this is what China calls Salami slicing

Instead of outright attacks, China creates little disruptions and offensive actions that are concerning but aren’t so big that it would qualify as starting a war. But if the other country that has been violated in this small way were to take any action they will have to bear the weight of starting the war. Which might also lead to sanctions and trials by the International Court of Justice. 

That is how China’s Salami Slicing technique works. They hack away in small ways that individually aren’t worrisome, but accumulate overtime into huge damages. 

For example the Mischief islands of the Philippines. China started building structures on the islands and said that they were shelters for fishermen when the Filipino government protested. They continued building more structures under the guise of shelters. But later satellite imagery revealed that China has built army bases in the island claiming it to be a part of their territory. 

That is what China has been doing in a lot of regions that come under other countries. They build small obstacles that later turn out to be the start of a full fledged annexation. 

Like the presence of Chinese aircrafts in Taiwan’s air zone. It is not a direct attack on the region, rather it is edging the other nation to start an attack, so that China annex it under the pretense of defense. 

The diplomacy of China is a double edged sword. It is a slowly crouching tiger that won’t make the first move but would readily  go for the throat if its enemy makes even a little indication of attack. 

And it’s warfare schemes are so planned and meticulous that no country, not even the U.S.A has a clue about how to handle China when it goes for the offensive. 

Anwesha Dash
Anwesha Dash
I am a journalist seeking to bridge the gap between knowledge and ignorance to forge a path of truth.
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