The United States Bares Teeth to Chinese Territory

Aug 19, 2019 | China, GOV, NEWS, Taiwan, US

East Asia DeskKari.Amarnani author

Gunner’s Mate Seaman Caliph Proctor, from Fayatteville, N.C., shoots a .50-caliber machine gun aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell – Naval Surface Warriors

Tensions are high surrounding three nations with much to fight for in the South China Sea

There have been sightings of American military ships traversing around Asia but they are notably more conspicuous in a specific area: the one near China. Taiwan is located southeast of China and the United States has been occupying spaces in the former in a clever and subtly threatening effort to get a point across. This may just be getting started. There is a possibility of a surplus of US military presence in Taiwan and it happens to prove proportional to the growing amount of Chinese military sailing along the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The United States and Taiwan embody this quote to a tee in their joined forces against mainland China. Taiwan is opening its nautical borders to the United States, granting them any requests that may aid in the power struggle. Yen Teh-fa, Taiwan’s Defense Minister, reported that the Taiwanese government is open to allowing the United States Navy into Taiping Island through a leasing agreement. This move is inconclusive as of yet but it is bound to further tension with China going as far as to infuriate them. As long as intentions align, there is nothing that could stop these two nations in their intimidation game.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence - Naval Surface Warriors - In Support of Security and stability in the Indo-Pacific Region

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence – Naval Surface Warriors – In Support of Security and stability in the Indo-Pacific Region

You Don’t Own Me: One Country, Two Systems

The first settlers of Taiwan are Austronesian people known to have originated from a tribe in South China. Taiwan’s existence was first introduced in Chinese documents in AD239 when China went on an expedition and discovered it— something Beijing never lets Taiwan forget. China constantly uses this fact to further their claim on the sovereign state. Though Taiwan was briefly owned by a Dutch colony at one point, it was ultimately administered by the Qing Dynasty, China’s last imperial dynasty.

China-Taiwan relations only began improving in the 1980s after decades of heated rhetoric. To conciliate the tension, China came up with its now infamous ‘one country, two systems’ scheme which grants autonomy to Taiwan as long as they agree to reunite again. Taiwan rejected it.  But they did try to maintain civil formations with the mainland. In 1991, they declared that their war with the People’s Republic of China was officially over. But history has a knack for repeating itself, doesn’t it?

Throughout 2018, China has ramped up its claim by forcing international companies and businesses to include Taiwan as a part of Chinese territory on their respective websites. If they failed to comply, their businesses would be hindered from any association with China. 

There is clearly a power clash between Taiwan and China. China regards Taiwan as a faraway province and promises to take the state back, even by force, if necessary. Taiwan counters with the fact that they are more than just a mere province— they have their own laws, leaders, policies and military troops. Because of this, they are a sovereign state. This is lost on China, and the two carry on with hostile ambiguity.

President Tsai thanks Admiral Samuel Locklear for supporting enhancement of Taiwan-US military exchanges during his tenure as commander of the United States Pacific Command

President Tsai thanks Admiral Samuel Locklear for supporting enhancement of Taiwan-US military exchanges during his tenure as commander of the United States Pacific Command

The Crows are Circling: Geographical Tension just got Personal

The strategy makes or breaks a situation. Taiwan’s Taiping Island located in the South China Sea is an ideal location for securing sea paths and forming a presence— its abundant resources ensure a suitable and comfortable stay. The attendance of the United States in Taiping Island could be the beginning of the end in this complicated saga. Beijing has made it clear that they plan to impose military action against Taiwan if they authorize US Navy ships in the territory. 

The United States certainly has no qualms with this as they are prepared to back up Taiwan in any altercation. In 1996, during Taiwan’s first presidential election, China provoked them with missile tests. The United States caught word of this and arranged for one of its biggest displays of power in Asia. They sent warships into the Taiwan Strait— a clear message to mainland China.

The United States is Taiwan’s strongest and most dedicated ally. They are ready and willing to supply Taiwan with defensive military equipment thanks to the Taiwan Relations Act. The consensus also makes it apparent that any violent action from China done towards Taiwan would be of grave concern to the United States. And repercussions will occur. 

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