In 5 Jan letter to Pope Francis, Taiwanese President Tsai said Taiwan aspires to create “new era” of peace with China, said “military action cannot resolve problems”. Tsai met with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Texas governor during stopover on way to Central America 8 Jan, defying request from China that U.S. not allow her to enter or have formal govt meetings. Beijing criticised attendance of Taiwanese delegation at U.S. President Trump’s inauguration 20 Jan; 23 Jan urged new U.S. administration to understand importance of One China policy. Taiwan scrambled jets and navy ships 11 Jan to “surveil and control” group of Chinese warships led by Liaoning aircraft carrier that sailed north through Taiwan Strait, entering Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in SW. Japan late Dec changed name of its Taiwanese embassy from “The Interchange Association” to “Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association”; Beijing expressed “strong dissatisfaction”.
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.