China’s military has released an animated video that simulates an all-out attack on Taiwan, declaring it is “ready to fight and smash Taiwanese independence.” The video, shared by the Chinese military’s Eastern Theatre Command’s official WeChat account and later posted on Twitter by The Global Times, demonstrates how Beijing would launch a barrage of missiles from the mainland and its navy in the Taiwan Strait to demolish Taiwan’s defences before invading.
The move comes as China’s military completed three days of large-scale ‘combat readiness patrols’ which simulated completely sealing off the island in a military blockade and were described by defence officials as a ‘warning.’ The theatre’s troops are ready to fight at all times and can fight at any time to resolutely smash any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ and foreign interference attempts,’ the military said Monday.
The exercises were similar to ones conducted by Beijing last August when it launched missile strikes on targets in the seas around Taiwan in retaliation for then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island – seen by Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of China. Military experts say the exercises serve both as intimidation and as an opportunity for Chinese troops to practice sealing off Taiwan by blocking sea and air traffic, an important strategic option the Chinese military might pursue in the event it uses military force to take Taiwan.
China’s military exercises and the video release have heightened tensions between China and Taiwan, which has been self-governing since 1949 but is still claimed by China as part of its territory. Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, has accused China of threatening regional peace and stability, saying “the international community should be aware of the threat posed by China.”
The United States, a longtime supporter of Taiwan, has also raised concerns over China’s actions. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the US is “concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability.”
The US and China have been engaged in a tense relationship over the past few years, with the two countries clashing over trade, technology, and human rights issues. The US has also been increasingly vocal in its support of Taiwan, which China sees as a red line that should not be crossed. In response, China has been ramping up its military activities in the region, with Taiwan being a frequent target of its aggression.
The recent military exercises and video release are part of China’s broader strategy to assert its dominance in the region and demonstrate its military capabilities. China has been investing heavily in its military in recent years, with the goal of becoming a world-class military power by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
The Chinese military has been expanding its presence in the South China Sea, building military installations on artificial islands, and engaging in confrontations with other countries in the region, including the Philippines and Vietnam. China’s military has also been modernizing its arsenal, developing new weapons and technology, and increasing the size and capability of its navy.
The situation between China and Taiwan is particularly fraught, with Taiwan being a democratic country that values its independence and autonomy. China, on the other hand, sees Taiwan as a wayward province that must be reunified with the mainland, even if that means using military force. The two sides have been engaged in a delicate dance for decades, with Taiwan trying to maintain its independence and China trying to assert its authority.
China’s recent military exercises and video release are a clear message to Taiwan that it will not tolerate any moves towards independence. It is also a warning to the US and other countries that support Taiwan that China is prepared to use military force to achieve its goals. The situation in the region is likely to remain tense for the foreseeable future, with both China and Taiwan taking steps to prepare for the possibility of conflict.
The international community, including the US, has a role to play in easing tensions in the region and preventing a potentially catastrophic conflict. Diplomatic efforts and dialogue between China and Taiwan should be encouraged, and the US and other countries should continue to support Taiwan’s right to self-determination while urging China to refrain from any military actions.
Ultimately, a peaceful resolution to the situation in the Taiwan Strait is in everyone’s best interests. The stakes are high, and any missteps could have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. It is incumbent upon all parties involved to exercise restraint and work towards a peaceful resolution to this decades-long conflict.
The history of China and Taiwan is complex and dates back to the early 17th century, when the Dutch colonized Taiwan. In 1661, the Ming dynasty loyalist Koxinga defeated the Dutch and established the Kingdom of Tungning, which was later conquered by the Qing dynasty in 1683. Taiwan remained a part of China until the end of the Second World War, when Japan, which had annexed Taiwan in 1895, was forced to relinquish its control of the island.
After Japan’s surrender, the Republic of China (ROC), led by the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang), took control of Taiwan. The ROC government, which had been fighting a civil war against the Communist Party of China (CPC) on the mainland, declared itself the legitimate government of all of China, including Taiwan. However, in 1949, the Kuomintang lost the Chinese Civil War to the CPC, and the ROC government retreated to Taiwan, where it continued to claim to be the legitimate government of all of China.
In 1971, the United Nations recognized the CPC-led People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the legitimate government of China and expelled the ROC from its membership. Since then, most countries, including the United States, have recognized the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China and have severed diplomatic ties with the ROC.
China’s Claim over Taiwan
China claims that Taiwan is a part of its territory and has never been an independent country. It argues that the ROC government on Taiwan is illegitimate and that the PRC is the only legitimate government of China. China’s claim over Taiwan is based on historical, cultural, and political grounds.
Historically, Taiwan was a part of China until the end of the Second World War, and the ROC government, which took control of Taiwan after Japan’s surrender, declared itself the legitimate government of all of China, including Taiwan.
Culturally, China and Taiwan share a common language, history, and culture. Many Taiwanese people trace their ancestry back to China and have close family ties with people on the mainland.
Politically, China argues that the Taiwan issue is a matter of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It views any move towards independence by Taiwan as a red line that must not be crossed.
Growing Tensions between China and Taiwan
The relationship between China and Taiwan has been characterized by tension, hostility, and occasional outbreaks of violence. Taiwan’s democratic government, which has been in power since 1996, has pursued a policy of seeking greater international recognition and independence from China, while China has used a combination of diplomatic, economic, and military pressure to keep Taiwan under its control.
In recent years, tensions between China and Taiwan have escalated. China has been ramping up its military activities in the region, conducting frequent military exercises near Taiwan and increasing its military presence in the South China Sea. China has also been using its economic power to pressure Taiwan, including by restricting trade and tourism to the island.
Taiwan, on the other hand, has been seeking to strengthen its ties with other countries, including the United States, Japan, and Australia. It has also been investing heavily in its own military capabilities, including developing new weapons systems and increasing the size and capability of its navy.
International Response and Implications
The growing tensions between China and Taiwan have raised concerns in the international community. The United States, which has long been a supporter of Taiwan, has increased its military presence in the region and has been vocal in its support of Taiwan’s democracy and right to self-determination. The US has also continued to sell arms to Taiwan, despite objections from China.
Other countries, including Japan and Australia, have also expressed support for Taiwan and have increased their military cooperation with the island. However, many countries remain cautious in their approach to the Taiwan issue, seeking to avoid provoking China while also supporting Taiwan’s right to a peaceful and democratic future.
The implications of the Taiwan issue are significant for both China and the international community. If China were to use force to try to reunify Taiwan with the mainland, it could lead to a major conflict with the United States and its allies. On the other hand, if Taiwan were to declare formal independence, it could trigger a military response from China.
The Taiwan issue is likely to remain a source of tension and instability in the region for the foreseeable future. As such, it will continue to require careful management and diplomacy by all parties involved.