President Tsai in 10 Oct National Day Address said “China’s unilateral diplomatic offensive and military coercion” harms cross-strait relations. U.S. VP Mike Pence in 4 Oct speech criticised China for actions “that threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait” (see South China Sea). Taiwan 4 Oct complained China was blocking its proposals at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum; 22-23 Oct accused China of meddling in its upcoming local elections. Several thousand demonstrators held pro-independence rally in Taipei 20 Oct, called for referendum. Taiwan held joint air, sea and land military exercises 9 and 16-17 Oct, simulating defending against Chinese People’s Liberation Army attacks on its bases. Two U.S. warships sailed through Taiwan Strait 22 Oct, sparking Chinese complaints. China’s defence minister 25 Oct warned against challenging China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. Beijing 31 Oct warned Taipei against official exchanges or military contacts with U.S. and “consequences” from “colluding with foreign forces to damage peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”; de facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan told reporters that efforts to decide Taiwan's future by anything “other than peaceful means” are “grave concern” to U.S..
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.