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Explaining the China-Taiwan Conflict, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1339

Essay

Mr. President, the upcoming summit between yourself and President Xi Jinping comes at a crucial time in global politics. The tensions between the People’s Republic of China and the United States over the state of Taiwan have escalated to a boiling point creating an urgent need for diplomatic intervention and negotiation. Therefore, the purpose of this memorandum is to take a deeper look into the nature of the conflict from the lens of the political motivations of the main parties.

Both the US and China have vested interests in Taiwan. The United States, a leader in western liberal democratic ideals, has pledged to support Taiwan’s efforts to establish itself as an independent, democratic state. On the other hand, China seeks to reunify Taiwan with its “One China Policy,” effectively asserting its control over what is still considered a Chinese colony. This disparity is important because it speaks to the reasons behind the military actions taken by both states in defense of, or, in China’s case, in support of the future of Taiwan. It is essentially a question of political ideologies, with differing views perpetuating diplomatic dissonance and hindering both the US and China from effectively negotiating this issue.

To decipher the political “languages” illustrated in the actions of the US and China concerning Taiwan, one may look at the concepts of sovereignty and democracy. While a state can be sovereign without being democratic, as is the case for China, a state cannot fully function democratically without some basis of sovereignty. As a communist state, China is operating off of a notion of sovereignty through the unification of Taiwan. In its authoritarian system, democratic ideals are not relevant to a system where one party rules the state. For the United States, however, democratization is an integral part of its foreign relations with Taiwan. Efforts to aid the state in its desire to operate under this political system are openly supported. The US has promised not to interfere with Taiwan’s efforts to establish its independence from China. Yet these assurances fall on deaf ears for the government of China, which operates on the understanding that by aiding Taiwan’s democratic efforts, the US is enabling a notion of independence that threatens their control of the state.

Herein lies China’s issue with US’s involvement in Taiwan. While the US has operated based on supporting Taiwan’s progress, its actions are easily misconstrued by the Republic of China. The US has supplied Taiwan with weapons and military support to support its defensive systems. Its adoption of the Taiwan Resolution Act of 1979 helped establish a US role in advancing Taiwan’s independence and progression in the global area. A main principle of the Act is to promote peace in the region; however, in the context of the differing intentions of the US and China, it places itself in a difficult position. (need help with this point)

Consider the 3rd Taiwanese strait crisis, for example. When Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui was set to speak at Cornell on the democratization process of Taiwan, the US initially maintained that it would not accept the president into the Honolulu base out of respect for its foreign relations with China – clear deference for the Chinese sentiment of sovereignty concerning Taiwan. Once that promise was rescinded due to a Congressional vote, President Lee was allowed into the US and thus participated in the panel discussion. Infuriated by the US’s change in policy, China took an active effort to intimidate the Taiwanese government, sending numerous warplanes and performing ballistic missile tests. The motivation was to punish the Taiwanese government for its marked derivation from Chinese control and later discourage President Lee’s re-election. The underlying motivation for these actions was to reassert the country’s sovereignty over Taiwan as its colony.

The United States’ response to China’s actions was a clear indicator of its strength and ability to defend Taiwan. By deploying subs, missiles, and warplanes, to name a few, the US illustrated its resolve to defend its ally and the length it would go to do so. As a result, China was deterred from instigating further actions to intimidate the Taiwanese government, and the US military demonstration was a success. But it also sent a subtle message that a country that does not share its democratic ideals could only be interpreted – that the US was encouraging Taiwan to establish itself as a state independent of China. Such differences in perception, although subtle, have a profound impact on the ability of the two countries to negotiate and resolve the tensions that continue to mount effectively.

The United States has an enormous responsibility as a global power to protect democratic ideals and support democratic governments like Taiwan. Still, this responsibility is greatly sensitive in this case. To avoid further escalation of tensions, the United States should clarify that it must support democratic ideals. It should also be understood that China is a communist state while Taiwan is democratic, with which the US has had long cordial foreign relations. The US and Taiwan have long outstanding business relations and a formal contract for the US to provide the island weapons to defend itself. This is part of the US-Taiwan Relations Act. However, the US has a policy of strategic ambiguity. Therefore, unless China engages in aggression against Taiwan, the US will let the Chinese and the Taiwanese governments solve the existing relations and political misunderstanding. China’s testing of hypersonic missiles and the previous missile attacks on Taiwan need to be understood as an act of defiance and a direct threat to a state the US has to defend.

A few things must be understood about the threats China is making to Taiwan. First, any attack on Taiwan in an attempt to repossess the island by force will attract other states in support of or against china or Taiwan. Since the Taiwan government has not made any extensive threats to china, more states will likely support Taiwan than china. The ideology of using high-tech weapons on a state that does not make a direct threat to china is a sign of aggression and defiance of the interests of the Americans. Second, the people of Taiwan are anti-communist, and the Chinese government will have a very tough time controlling the 24 million people who detest the communist rule. Other countries like Australia and Japan have already sided with Taiwan; hence, the US is assured of joining troops with the Taiwan allies to win in case a war erupts. The US must defend itself and its interests, such as Taiwan. Advocating for Taiwan should start with understanding the language of the Taiwanese president of the solidarity and allegiance to the US government.

Despite the escalated relations between the US and China on the issue of Taiwan, the US has an enormous responsibility of ensuring world order, peace, and stability. It is also important to understand the position of the US that the state has no primary intention to start a war with China. The US wants the threat and attacks on Taiwan to seize henceforth, and solutions to the existing problems are amicable, fair, and held democratically. However, should China ignore all these warnings from the US and its allies and attack Taiwan, then the US will have no choice but to defend Taiwan and supply the island with whatever weapons necessary to defend its sovereignty.

Despite the US efforts to move away from interstates relations and the old history between china and Taiwan, the US, as a promoter and supporter of democratic ideals, cannot do so without the Chinese assurance to solve the conflict through peaceful means. Therefore, the US maintains its position in support of Taiwan, should china ignore the peaceful solutions and attack Taiwan anyway. Lastly, agreeing to hold talks is a sign of the US  will to calm the situation down and find an amicable solution to the conflict of interests between the Chinese and US states. as such, it should not be taken as a sign of weakness or retaliation, for the US still has unwavering support for Taiwan and its people.

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