Tensions keep growing between nations China and Taiwain

President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, talks of Hong Kong's fight for independence and their establishment struggle for democracy.

President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, talks of Hong Kong’s fight for independence and their establishment struggle for democracy.

Nicholas Karmia, Staff Writer

1949 — Mao Zedong officially had taken over as Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, and the KMT (Kuomintang), who fought against Zedong’s opposition for the past twenty years, and had to come up with a new strategy to take back China. In the final months of 1949, members of the previously ruling KMT had moved from mainland China to seek refuge on the island of Taiwan. 

Since even before then, China and Taiwan’s relationship remained on thin ice. Taiwan has its own government, with its own president, and it’s own cabinet ministers to oversee certain operations such as commerce and labor. Taiwan’s main island stretches over 14,000 miles, and maintains control over the Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu Islands, as well as over other small island nations. The Taiwan Strait is seen to be the main body of water that separates China and Taiwan’s territories. The Republic of China is Taiwan’s official title to the Chinese government, simply an addition to the People’s Republic of China (China). The question every day in southeastern China, is should it be considered its own independent nation? 

This consideration of Taiwan’s independence is where the fight begins. There’s a list of countries that consider Taiwan an independent entity from China’s territory. Places such as Guatemala, Hati, and Honduras consider Taiwan to be its own country regardless of what China or even the United Nations thinks. Nations like the United States, remain on the fence over Taiwan’s current status given their relationship with China’s government. Nevertheless, China continues its efforts to deter any form of independence Taiwan claims. 

According to a report by the Associated Press on January 24, “there were 8 Chinese bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and four fighter jets” that flew over Taiwan’s air space. What would seen to be a demonstration of power and intimidation towards Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, hoping to change her beliefs over Taiwan being separate from China. But it hasn’t all been a showcase of military power. For the past couple years, China has been using a excavation technique called sand dredging in hopes to incapacitate some of the naval defenses that surround Taiwan. 

Sand dredging is the removal process of silt and other material that can be found at the bottom of nearly all bodies of water. The major consequence of taking these minerals dug out and moving them to another location can be severe. The after effects of this are bound to include damage towards farmland and fisheries, erosion throughout waterways, destruction of marine life, flooding problems, and environmental degradation. What’s even better is that China has been dredging Taiwan’s land through unmarked barges according to research done by Reuters and BBC. 

China’s continued acts of aggression towards Taiwan for the past years, I believe, is finally boiling down to a war between the two. Recently, in an official statement by China’s Defense Ministry spokesman We Quian, he states, “We warn those ‘Taiwan independence’ elements, those who play with fire will burn themselves, and Taiwan independence means war.”. It’s not just this statement, and the recent psychological and environmental attacks that makes me think this conflict will turn into physical confrontation… it’s that China has exhausted every option. 

You can play the intimidation game and try to destroy the resources of another all the livelong day, but until you put troops on the ground and begin to take what you feel is necessary, is the progress you want happening? This is what China is starting to think, if not already when they continue to turn towards playing the long game. Taiwan would not have the military force to defend itself against the armed forces of China, with or without the support of nations in the surrounding area. When it comes down to the outcome of a war between the two, very little will stop China from taking what it believes is rightfully theirs.