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Dwindling allies

  • Published
    28th Mar, 2023

Context:

  • By formally establishing diplomatic relations with China, Honduras has joined a growing list of countries that have recently switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

What is Taiwan’s relationship with mainland China?

  • After World War II: Taiwan was controlled by Japan for half a century until the end of World War II, when it became a part of the Republic of China, ruled by Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang.
  • During Mao Zedong: Though the mainland was taken over by Mao Zedong’s Communist forces in China’s civil war, the island remained under Kuomintang control after the war ended in 1949.
  • After 1990: By 2021, only a third identified themselves as both Chinese and Taiwanese, with most of the rest describing themselves as exclusively Taiwanese.

How has China responded to the increasing tensions?

  • Gray Zone Warfare: China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, has sent jet fighters, bombers and spy planes on hundreds of sorties near Taiwan in recent years.
  • Military Exercises: China conducts military exercises around Taiwan often in response to the presence nearby of U.S. aircraft-carrier strike groups.
  • Nuclear Expansion: China has also begun a major expansion of its nuclear arsenal, partly to deter the U.S. from using its own nuclear weapons in a conflict over Taiwan.
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