As U.S.-China Tensions Rise Following Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit, What’s Next? | WSJ
Taiwan has become a key front line in the U.S.-China rivalry, with both countries ramping up military posturing in the region. WSJ explains why the U.S. is displaying support for the self-ruling island that China sees as part of its territory.
– [Presenter] Tensions over Taiwan have soared.
A visit from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
and comments from other US officials
about the island have infuriated China.
(speaking in foreign language)
The self-ruled island has grown into a durable democracy
and major semiconductor producer.
The US has promised to help it defend itself.
– [Reporter] Are you willing to get involved militarily
to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?
– [Presenter] But the problem is,
China sees it as part of its own territory
and has threatened to seize it if necessary.
– Over the past year, the Chinese military
has also sent dozens of planes, bombers and fighter jets
into the air space close to Taiwan.
– [Presenter] So as Taiwan is perhaps
the most explosive issue in US-China relations,
here’s how we got here and what’s next.
The first thing to know is that Taiwan,
which is located off China’s coast,
has been self-governed since 1949.
That’s when the Communist Party took power in mainland China
and some nationalists fled to the island.
– For China, Taiwan is seen
as always been the one that got away.
When the Chinese Communist Party
first founded the People’s Republic of China,
Taiwan was never a part of the People’s Republic.
Instead it was governed by the Kuomintang Party
that had fled to the island after brutal civil war.
Ever since then, every Chinese leader has sought
to reunify Taiwan with the mainland.
– [Presenter] And that includes President Xi Jinping
who has made bringing Taiwan under mainland control
a key goal of his legacy.
(speaking in foreign language)
But the US has shown support for President Tsai Ing-wen.
From Beijing’s perspective, she’s a leader
who is dangerously pushing Taiwan closer to independence.
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Taiwan became a bigger bilateral issue between the US
and China during the administration of President Trump.
– What president Donald Trump did was to make it
part of US policy to tighten ties with Taiwan
and this has continued under President Biden.
– [Presenter] For decades, the US has sent weapons
and more recently, has sent troops
to provide military training despite China’s warnings.
The US has a few reasons to do that.
– Firstly, it’s the US’ ninth largest trading partner
and Taiwan is also a key part of global supply chains.
Taiwan is also a litmus test for US credibility
in the region, because the US allies
will watch US’ treatment of Taiwan carefully.
– [Presenter] One reason Taiwan
is so strategic for the US and China
is the role it plays in manufacturing.
It’s home to the world’s most critical chip-maker
and semiconductors have been in short supply
over the past year.
So what’s next?
China has made a series of moves in the region
in what Taiwan sees as attempts to discourage the island
from forging closer ties with the US and other allies.
– What we’ve seen is a PLA unit posting
on a social media account the video
of a recent military drill that happened
off the coast of southeastern Fujian province
and facing Taiwan.
The caption of the video read,
“We’re ready to fight any time.”
– [Presenter] China also said it would hold
live fire military drills around Taiwan in early August,
but this doesn’t mean China will actually invade the island,
which carries a lot of risk considering Washington’s pledges
to help Taiwan defend itself.
Taiwan is one of a number of issues
such as trade and technology that have soured
US-China relations in recent years.
Despite the risks of escalation,
the US is signaling that even with war raging
in Ukraine, it can remain very active
in the strategic Asia-Pacific region.
– If the US doesn’t stand up
for Taiwan in the face of China coercion,
then US credibility in the region suffers
and it would affect its relationship
with other allies in the region.
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