Tensions increased between Taipei and Beijing amid increased Chinese incursions into Taiwanese Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) and continued U.S. military presence. Amid heightened tensions following top Chinese general’s 29 May threat to use “all necessary measures” to prevent Taiwanese independence, Chinese military activity spiked mid-month; Taiwanese army reported eight incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwanese ADIZ 9-22 June, including: several Su-30 fighter jets 9 June, a Y-8 surveillance aircraft shortly after Taiwan carried out missile tests off eastern coast 12 June, intrusions by J-10 fighter 19 June and several jets including H-6 bomber 22 June. U.S. Navy destroyer 4 June sailed through Taiwan Strait; Taiwanese Defence Ministry 9 June said U.S. navy transport plane that day entered Taiwanese air space with permission; in response, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office 11 June said flight was “illegal act and a seriously provocative incident”; U.S. military jets, including P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and reconnaissance planes, flew daily over waters near Taiwan 21-30 June. Committee established by Taiwan’s main opposition Kuomintang party to examine party’s cross-strait policy 19 June recommended that “1992 Consensus” – tacit agreement between China and then ruling-Kuomintang on principles of cross-strait relations – be used as “historical description” of cross-strait interactions; China’s Taiwan Affairs Office same day urged adherence to “1992 consensus”. Amid concerns over controversial new Chinese national security legislation for Hong Kong, Taiwan govt 18 June announced that it will open office in July in Taipei to offer humanitarian assistance to Hong Kong citizens, including those seeking asylum. Taiwanese coast guard 3 June reportedly intercepted flotilla of illegal Chinese sand dredgers in Taiwan strait.
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.