Taipei continued efforts to shore up diplomatic recognition with support from U.S.. Four U.S. senators 3 Sept introduced draft “Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act” that would authorise State Department to downgrade relations with govts that take adverse action against Taiwan. Signalling displeasure with countries that recently severed ties with Taipei, U.S. 7 Sept said it had recalled its ambassadors to Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Panama. Four of seventeen remaining countries recognising Taiwan — Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) — reiterated their support. Following Vatican-China agreement on bishops, Taiwan 27 Sept said diplomatic relations with Vatican are stable. U.S. 24 Sept approved sale of spare parts for F-16 fighter planes and other military aircraft to Taiwan. European Parliament report 29 Aug called for EU and its member states to urge China “to refrain from further military provocation towards Taiwan and endangering peace and stability”. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office 16 Sept accused island’s intelligence agencies of conducting espionage and infiltration activities on mainland, called on Taipei to immediately stop “to prevent further damage to the increasingly complicated cross-Straits relations”; Taipei dismissed reports.
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.