Media 12 April reported Taiwan’s navy issued tender for locally-built amphibious ship, $207 million landing platform dock; part of indigenous shipbuilding plan announced in 2016 including new submarines and destroyers within military expansion and modernisation strategy. In sign of warming Taiwan-Japan ties, foreign ministry 19 April said govt will rename its representative office in Japan to Association of Taiwan-Japan Relations; follows similar move by Japan in Jan, after which China said it was “extremely dissatisfied”. U.S. President Trump 27 April said he would not repeat Dec 2016 phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai without first consulting with Chinese President Xi.
After drifting toward crisis for much of 2004, the outlook for stability across the Taiwan Strait has improved.
Each side’s most preferred solution for resolving the continuing Taiwan Strait issue – in the case of Taipei, widely recognised de jure independence; and in the case of Beijing, reunification of China on the same ‘one country, two systems’ basis as Hong Kong – are both non-starters.
Apparently irreconcilable positions on the ‘one China’ principle have emerged between China and Taiwan over the last decade, with Taiwan for some time now asserting not only that it is a separate political entity but an independent sovereign country.
China's underlying position on its cross-Strait relations, however strong its current commitment to peaceful diplomacy, is that Taiwan must make sustained, visible progress toward a peaceful settlement or risk a resort to armed hostilities.
In the last decade, Taiwan has moved slowly but surely away from its commitment to the idea of ‘one China’, the proposition, long agreed on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, that Taiwan and the mainland are parts of one country.