Tensions with China continued over military exercises and disruption to govt’s COVID-19 response. Defence Ministry reported 16 March that Chinese jets including J-11 fighters and KJ-500 airborne flew into waters off coast of south west Taiwan in night time exercises, coming close to Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone, with govt scrambling fighters in response. Following FM Joseph Wu 29 Feb accusing China of waging cyber “war” by using fake news in attempt to disrupt Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 spread, govt continued to protest Beijing’s apparent blocking of Taipei from accessing information from World Health Organization; U.S.-based chairman of American Institute in Taiwan 5 March told President Tsai Ing-wen U.S. would “redouble” efforts to “expand Taiwan’s participation on the global stage”. U.S. House of Representatives 4 March unanimously passed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act (TAIPEI Act), aimed at discouraging Taipei’s diplomatic allies from cutting ties with island in favour of relations with Beijing; U.S. Senate 11 March passed bill, and President Trump 26 March signed act into law.
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.