Home » US-China’s tension over Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and its future impact

US-China’s tension over Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and its future impact

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: Jayanta Sharangthem
‘If you play with fire, you will get burned’. With this strong statement,China has openly challenged America. And America has accepted this challenge as well.Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has sparked tensions with China.China’s reaction is furious at Pelosi’s visit. She, who is third in line to the US presidency, has visited and assured that the US will help Taiwanto uphold democracy by any means. Pelosi has been harsh on China’s critics over the years. She had criticised the Tiananmen Square massacre as well. She left Taipeiand spent barely 18 hours in Taiwan. But Beijing is still fuming. China has carried out cyber-attacks on Taiwan too. This puts the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region under threat, disrupting everything including flights and sea routes by China’s military operations.Chinese warplanes and ships have crossed the median line in the strait between mainland China and Taiwan. The biggest-ever aggressive military drill of the PLAcrossing the Taiwan air defence zone comes in response to top USDemocrat and House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwaneven after continuous serious warning from Beijing. China even vows tore-educate the Taiwanese. The world clearly has a lot to worry about.Why is there always a conflict between China and Taiwan? And what is the interest of the US in this matter? What difference does it make if China controls Taiwan? Let us try to understand the hidden agenda behind the story and its implications for India. On Thursday,the Communist state of China launched ballistic missiles into the water aroundTaiwan’s north-east and south-west coasts, even though the latter is always against the Chinese dream of expansionism. China claims the island as part of its territory, even though the island collects its own taxes, votes in its own government, issues its own passports, and has its own military.This ferocious reaction and response is highly provocative and endangers regional peace and stability, in addition to disrupting international trade and transportation.There are so many reasons behind this scenario. China sees self-ruled Taiwan, which lies 100 miles from it, as a breakaway province and has a desire to put Taiwan under its control, by force if necessary, in view of sea route expansion and economic super power. The island, which is the largest producer of semiconductors and chips in the world, holds the key to economic development, particularly in the high-tech area.TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is located in Taiwan, and without this industry, the international economy is going to suffer. The US wants to make Taiwan as its ally and losing Taiwan would be like losing the US tech industry. So, Taiwan is more important than Ukraine in terms of the economy.
Nancy then touched down in Japan on Thursday, the final stop on her Asia tour from South Korea, whose president was distancing himself from meeting with Pelosi, following a visit to Taiwan that infuriated China and becoming the highest-profile elected US official to set foot in Taiwan in 25 years this week. But Pelosi visited the demilitarised zone (DMZ), a highly dangerous border between North and South Korea. When China went ballistic with missile tests in the Taiwan straitsin 1996, the Taiwanese president informally went to the US to attend an alumni celebration at Cornell University. Is Beijing miscalculating Pelosi’s visit this time again?Surely it is.
Taiwan, which the Taiwanese refer to as “true China,” has been ruled by various parties, including the Dutch in the 17th century, the Qing Dynasty of China, and Japan.In World War II, many Taiwanese soldiers fought for Japan. Even today, Taiwanese culture has Japanese influences in it. But the world order changed after WW2. An ideological war began. On one hand, there was Western democracy, and on the other hand, there was Communist USSR, where the whole world focussed entirely on USSR. Communist forces within China were getting stronger under Mao, which eventually ruled China under the People’s Republic of China(PRC).For a long time, the Nationalist Party of Kuomintang (KMT) ruled the island. The KMT ruled mainland China from 1928 to 1949. It was then defeated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the civil war, and the old Chinese government fled and formed an exiled government in Taiwan under the Republic of China (ROC) in 1949,which ruled the island territory under martial law till 1987 and claimed to represent the whole China. For many years, Taiwan and not the mainland China ruled by the CCP, was part of the United Nations and its Security Council.That changed in the 1970s.This whole story can sometimes be compared to the situation where there is India on one side and Jammu and Kashmir on the other side, having different constitutions before the removal of article 370.In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly voted to replace Taiwan with Mainland China as its member. On January 1, 1979, the US started formal diplomatic relations with China under the One China Policy, that came at the cost of Taiwan’s diplomatic alliance with the US.The CCP’s guiding ideological principle is the One China Policy. It has been the cornerstone of China’s domestic and international politics since 1949. No Taiwan, no Xinjiang, no Tibet, just China. Mainland China calls Taiwan a renegade province and has not shied away from issuing threats to capture the island nation. The CCP has used mainland China’s economic and military power to end their alliance and diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Today, China has diplomatic ties with 178 countries, while Taiwan is recognised by only 14 small countries.
According toChina, democracy cannot deliver sustainable growth. Xi Jinping believes the 21st century is not for democracy and autocracies would do better as democracy takes time to reach consensus.On the contrary, Taiwan has seen a democratic evolution in the last few decades. Today, it is a vibrant democracy with its people not yet ready to unite with China.Promoting democracy globally defines the external politics of the US and Taiwan fits into it.The US wanted to isolate and corner the Soviet Union and China, a communist country, to make the United States the world economic super power.The US is of the view that Taiwan’s transition into democracy gives the US an answer to China’s Communist propaganda by providing Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.Taiwan is a straight answer to the global geopolitical debate on Democratic vs. Communist regimes and systems to follow, and the US does not want to let this democratic assertion go away to the threats and steps of a communist country, or China in this case.
Is it the beginning of WW3? Only time can tell.The message is quite clear.Sweden and Finland have recently been granted NATO membership, and the US and its allies’ expansionist policy has enraged communist countries such as Russia and China. The world is already divided over Ukraine. Some countries like Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Belarus, Cuba, Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lankareaffirmthe ‘One China Policy’and some side with Taiwan, although the EU looks divided over the crisis just like the rest of the world. Russia, on the other hand, says China has the right to hold military drills around Taiwan. But who gave china that right?Now, ithas sparkedan unexpected tension over Taiwan. The US is an unofficial ally of Taiwan. The US president has himself said that America won’t stay silent if there is an attack on Taiwan.
During the cold war, Taiwan was an important ally for the West. The same was true in Ukraine too. What happened to Ukraine? When Russia invaded Ukraine, the whole world expected the West i.e. the USA and EU,to help Ukraine. But no western countries actively took part in the war. There are many reasons. The first reason is that the EU depends on Russia for natural Gas. Europe is now facing natural gas scarcity because Russia has stopped exporting to them. Secondly, Russia is the second-most powerful country to have nuclear power.Will Europe back the US this time? This becomes a big question mark. If Russia and the USA, both having nuclear powers, start a war between them, it will be bad news for the whole world as this definitely means WW3. We can’t estimate where the war will actually stop. The Russia-Ukraine crisis is quite similar to the China-US-Taiwan scenario. China is also a nuclear power state.The Ukraine and Taiwan are militarily underdogs. These two countries will be the losers at the end after destroying their economies.
Politically, China-Taiwan reunification is at the core of the CCP’s political vision and internal political tussle. Xi Jinping must take a heroic action to silence his party’s rivals and reclaim his third presidential term later this year. The GDP of Taiwan is $786 billion, which is more than any other developed country. It is one of the 21st century’s most valuable islands and all this treasure lies a mere 130kms from China. Taiwanwas Asia’s top performing economy over India and China in 2020-21, the year when almost all countries saw negative economic growth during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Economically, Taiwan is a world leader in the high-tech industry and a dominant power in the semiconductors business. Taiwan’s semiconductor players even outshine the US in advanced fabricated technologies. China, the world’s largest buyer of semiconductors, depends on the US, Taiwan, South Korea, and other countries for semiconductor supply as the domestic industry has failed to take off in spite of years of efforts. Taiwan and South Korea, in fact, control 70% of semiconductor manufacturing globally.To fulfil its world superpower on economy, China wants to occupy Taiwan so that it can enter the Pacific Ocean Economic Zone more openly, thereby exporting its manufacturing products to other parts of the countries, over and above,setting up a military base in Taiwan.The US politically sees this as a huge hole in its defence and the US won’t take this risk.And China thinks Taiwan under mainland China can solve the semiconductor crisis that China is facing after the Washington hostility and also Taiwan under mainland China’s control, despite stiff opposition by the US, means China’s dominance in global geopolitics. It would be seen as China’s victory over US policies.
How is the world reacting to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?Even though Japan calls for an immediate stop to china’s military drills around Taiwan and its exclusive economic zone, Pakistan and Russia have already expressed their views in support of the Chinese Furious Military Exercise, launched after US Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.Surely, there will be an arms race in the Indo-Pacific region too. What about India? How should India view China’s aggressive move? What will happen if China invades Taiwan? How will it impact the border standoff with India? India needs to be prepared for Chinese escalation. The situation will worsen because Myanmar, Manipur’s neighbouring country, will automatically support China’s ideology and decisions.India needs to gear up the security management along its borders. Pakistan and China have been the enemies of us from time immemorial, while Russia is a true old friend of India. India, on the other hand, can’t go against the world super power and highly prosperous country, USA.In this confusing scenario, the decision and the stand, particularly for India, becomes a critical. For any wrong step, India has to pay the price for its mistake, including the military and economic sanctions, either from the US or the USSR-China allies.We see the whole world is feeling the effect of Russia-Ukraine war.The alarming thing is the location of the conflict. Taiwan is centrally located in the Indo-Pacific region whose sea route travel is one of the busiest in the world. If Japan joins this fight, the world economy will be collapsed and the impact will be immeasurable because these three countries dominate the global economy. And with this, it would set the world back by years, if not decades.The biggest casualty will be electronics. If Taiwan falls, electronic devices, gadgets, chips, semiconductors, and others will get costlier. Both the US and China will likely wage an economic war, creating a globally economic emergency or simply a recession.This will affect the overall economy of India too.The fuel is more expensive. Our food prices are rising, and our energy bills are too high. But it will be even worse if the war eruptsover Taiwan.

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