Taiwan Strait

  • IASbaba
  • August 30, 2022
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In News: The U.S. Navy is sailing two warships through the Taiwan Strait, at a time when tensions have kept the waterway particularly busy.

Taiwan Strait

  • The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a 180 km wide strait separating Taiwan and mainland China.
  • The strait is currently part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north. The narrowest part is 130 km wide.
  • The entire strait is on Asia’s continental shelf.
  • Historically both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan espoused a One-China Policy that considered the strait part of the exclusive economic zone of a single “China”.

Recent Developments

  • The recent visit by US speaker to Taiwan is not being well received by China.
  • It has sparked intense tensions between the two powerful countries- China and US as China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province.

China-Taiwan Relations:

  • Taiwan is an island territory across the Taiwan Strait, located off the coast of mainland China.
  • The ruling Kuomintang (Nationalist) government of China fled to Taiwan after being defeated by the communist forces in the Chinese civil war of 1945-1949.
  • Following the split of China and Taiwan in the civil war, the Republic of China (ROC) government was relocated to Taiwan. On the other hand, the Communist Party of China (CPC) established the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the mainland.
  • Since then, the PRC observes Taiwan as a traitor province and awaits reintegration with Taiwan, if possible, by peaceful means.
  • PRC allied itself with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and ROC with the US in the cold war further straining the China-Taiwan relations.
  • Currently, only 13 countries recognise Taiwan as a sovereign country.

Significance of Taiwan to the world

  • Much of the world’s global supply chain of semiconductors is reliant on Taiwan.
  • Further, its contract manufacturers together accounted for more than 60% of total global semiconductor revenue in 2021.

Relevance to China:

Economic cooperation

  • China and Taiwan’s economies are inextricably linked.
  • China is Taiwan’s biggest export partner, with an export value of 515 billion dollars from 2017 to 2022, more than double the US, which was the next biggest partner.

Geographic Aspect

  • Taiwan is much closer to mainland China than the other islands, and has been claimed by Beijing since Nationalists were driven there during the Chinese revolution in 1949.

Relevance to the United States:

  • Taiwan anchors a chain of islands which includes a list of US-friendly territories that the US is planning to use as a place of leverage for countering China’s expansionist plans.
  • The US does not have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is bound by US law (Taiwan Relations Act, 1979) to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
  • It is by far the largest arms dealer for Taiwan and follows a ‘strategic ambiguity’

Stand of India on the Taiwan Issue

  • India-Taiwan Ties: As a part of India’s Act East Foreign Policy, India has sought to cultivate extensive ties with Taiwan in trade and investment as well as developing co-operation in science & technology, environment issues and people-to-people exchange.
  • India and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic relations but since 1995, both sides have maintained representative offices in each other’s capitals that function as de facto embassies.
  • Since 1949, India has accepted the One China policy that accepts Taiwan and Tibet as part of China.
  • Even though India has stopped mentioning its adherence to One China policy in joint statements and official documents since 2010, its engagement with Taiwan is still restricted due to the framework of ties with China.

India and other major powers must establish a red line for any Chinese attempt to annex Taiwan militarily. After all, the Taiwan issue is not simply a moral one about enabling a totalitarian state to destroy a successful democracy or a matter of international ethics about adhering to the concept of peaceful resolution of disputes.

Source: The Hindu

The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2022)

Country: Important reason for being in the news recently

  1. Chad: Setting up a permanent military base by China
  2. Guinea: Suspension of Constitution and Government by military
  3. Lebanon: Severe and prolonged economic depression
  4. Tunisia: Suspension of Parliament by President

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

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