China warned U.S. against official diplomatic interactions with Taiwan, while military activity continued in region. U.S. President Biden in 9 Sept call to Chinese President Xi said U.S. had no intention of changing its one-China policy. Media reports 10 Sept indicated U.S. was considering changing name of Taiwan’s U.S. mission from “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” to “Taiwan Representative Office”. In response, China 13 Sept called on U.S. to stop official interactions, calling Taiwan “the most important and sensitive issue at the core of China-US relations”; should official office name be changed, Beijing may respond by ramping up military activity around Taiwan or flying its planes across de facto sea demarcation known as “median line”. Meanwhile, military activity continued. Number of Chinese military planes that entered Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone rose, returning to high levels last seen in April; notably, 24 planes entered on 23 Sept. Chinese military 17 Sept conducted exercise off Taiwan’s south-western coast. U.S. warship same day transited through Taiwan Strait in ninth such passage in 2021. Taiwan 13-17 Sept conducted annual Han Kuang military exercise and 16 Sept announced proposal to allocate $8.7 bn in addition to defence budget over next five years to purchase missiles, naval ships and weapons systems for warships. British warship 27 Sept sailed through Taiwan Strait for first time since 2008. European Parliament 16 Sept adopted resolution calling for bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan and European Commission to facilitate Taipei’s full participation as an observer in UN agencies. China 20 Sept began ban on import of Taiwan’s custard and wax apples, 90% of which go to China, citing pests; Taiwan denied charge and warned it would file formal complaint at World Trade Organization.
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.
The number of Chinese military flights near Taiwan has soared in recent days. In this Q&A, our expert Amanda Hsiao says Beijing is not only demonstrating its objections to deepening U.S.-Taiwan ties, but also warning the broader international community against getting closer to Taiwan.