Society & Culture

Taiwan, China, and Unnecessary War

While America’s attention remains focused on the North Korea crisis, another dangerous East Asia confrontation has re-emerged.  The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is taking new steps to intimidate Taiwan and force the island’s leaders to move toward political reunification with the mainland.  The latest measures aim to make it clear to Taiwanese officials and the general population that any hopes they might have to perpetuate Taiwan’s de facto independence, much less achieve formal, internationally recognized independence, are doomed.

Evidence of the PRC’s increasing impatience and belligerence exists on multiple fronts.  Over the past two years, the Chinese government has resumed its efforts to cajole or bribe the small number of nations that still maintain diplomatic relations with Taipei to switch ties to Beijing.  Warnings that China will use force if necessary to prevent any “separatist” initiatives by Taiwan have become more insistent, if not downright strident.  Finally, there has been a sharp increase in the number and scope of provocative PRC military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and other nearby waters.

The mounting tensions between Taipei and Beijing should be attracting more notice in the United States, since such developments are more than a matter of academic concern.  The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which Congress adopted...

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