One or two Countries?

The lasting fight between China and Taiwan

One or two Countries?

Candace Chen, Author

On January 2, President Xi Jinping of China delivered a speech where he reiterated his wishes to reunify China with the self-ruling island of Taiwan. With political tensions dating back to the Chinese Civil War in the 1920’s, China and Taiwan have not yet reached a compromise acceptable to either side concerning their official relationship with each other. In the midst of this argument, the U.S. has also gotten involved by initiating a trade war with China and aiding Taiwan simultaneously.

Both China and Taiwan hold differing opinions concerning Taiwan’s status. Mainland Chinese people, represented by President Xi, insist that Taiwan had never formally broke away from China, still being a part of the country. On the opposing side,Taiwan, led by female President Tsai Ing-wen, stands firm and hopes to keep their self-rule and be treated equally by China. The Taiwanese president is adamant about keeping Taiwan’s freedom, and will not cave under Chinese demands for reunification. China has offered a system of “one country, two governments,” to Taiwan, similar to how Hong Kong operates. This guarantees that Taiwan can keep its system of government, which is democratic, as long as they accept Taiwan as a part of China. However, there have been issues with this model in Hong Kong. The increasing influence of Beijing [China’s Capital] in politics and media makes many doubt whether China will keep its word. China is also trying to persuade Taiwan to accept its claims in other ways, with The Washington Post reporting President Xi has been “saying that China offered economic opportunities for Taiwan and by making an appeal to shared ancestry. ‘China,’ he [President Xi] said, ‘does not attack Chinese people.’” However, this statement does not rule out the use of force in this long-standing conflict.

As China and Taiwan struggle to settle the conflicts between them, another power has gotten themselves involved. Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, forming relations with Taiwan by allowing officials from both places to visit the other. This hardly goes unnoticed by China, who is currently involved in a trade war with the U.S.. As a warning to other countries, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports President Xi “stressed that relations with Taiwan were ‘part of China’s domestic politics’ and that ‘foreign interference is intolerable.’” Being supported by the U.S. is beneficial to Taiwan. However, there are worries that Taiwan will merely be used as a bargaining chip by the U.S. to reach a trade deal. As a result, Taiwan would be left in a very vulnerable position.

The United States’ stance in Asian affairs is being monitored by citizens and news

sources alike. Ria Hosaru, a junior Battlefield student, says U.S. intervention “will definitely hurt the relationship between the U.S. that has been growing stronger over the years due to a bit of interdependence.” For now, there still remains hostility between China and Taiwan as each side is preparing for the next step. Adding the U.S. to the mix complicates this matter further and could mean strained relations between the U.S. and China.

The long lasting debate about whether Taiwan is independent or a part of China is still prevalent in each of their governments and lands. Both sides hold strong opinions about this topic and it will be difficult to reach a solution. Taiwan remains resolute in its stance, while China is set on its plans for reunification. As other powers get involved in this standoff, the relations between these countries will be put to the test.