Seven decades of China-Taiwan tensions

TAIPEI: As US-China tensions run high during a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a look back at relations between the self-governing island and its superpower neighbor.
1949: divorce
Mao Zedong’s communists take power in Beijing in October 1949 after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) nationalists in a civil war.
The KMT flee to the island of Taiwan and form their own government in Taipei in December, cutting ties with mainland China.
In 1950 Taiwan becomes an ally of the United States, which is at war in Korea with communist China. The US deploys a fleet in the Taiwan Strait to protect its ally from potential attacks.
1971: Beijing gets UN, US nods
In October 1971, Beijing takes over China’s seat at the United Nations, previously held by Taipei.
In 1979, the United States cut formal ties with Taiwan and established diplomatic relations with Beijing instead.
Washington expresses its support for the “One China” policy, which states that Taiwan is part of China but has trade and military ties with Taipei.
1987-2004: improving relationships
In late 1987, residents of Taiwan are allowed to visit mainland China for the first time, allowing families to reunite.
In 1991, Taiwan lifted the emergency rule, unilaterally ending a state of war with China. The first direct talks between the two parties will take place in Singapore two years later.
But in 1995, Beijing suspended talks in protest at a visit to the United States by Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui.
In 1996, China tests missiles at Taiwan to deter voters in the island’s first democratic presidential election.
In the 2000 elections, the KMT loses power in Taiwan for the first time. In the coming years, trade relations between the two sides will improve.
2005-2015: Threats and Talks
In March 2005, Beijing passed a law permitting the use of force if Taiwan declares independence. In April, KMT chairman Lien Chan will make a historic visit to Beijing for talks with Chinese leader Hu Jintao.
In 2008, Taiwan and China resumed high-level talks after the KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou was elected president on a Beijing-friendly platform.
In 2010, they sign a sweeping framework economic cooperation agreement, and in 2014 they hold the first government-to-government talks since the divorce.
2016: honeymoon over
In January 2016, Tsai Ing-wen, of the traditionally pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, won the presidential election.
In June, China suspends all communications with Taiwan after the new government does not recognize the “One China” policy.
In December 2016, US President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades of US diplomatic policy by speaking directly, over the phone, with Tsai.
In January 2019, Xi Jinping warned that the unification of China and Taiwan is “inevitable”.
2021: Tensions between the US and China
In 2021, Chinese military jets will make hundreds of raids on Taiwan’s defense zone.
In October, US President Joe Biden said the United States will defend Taiwan if China attacks it, in comments that were later backfired in part by the White House.
Tsai confirms that a small number of US troops are present in Taiwan to help train his troops.
2022: Tensions rise during visit to Pelosi
On May 23, Biden urges the West to stand firm against Russia over Ukraine to stop China from trying to take Taiwan by force, and reiterates that the US will defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion.
On August 2, House Speaker Pelosi defies days of Chinese warnings and lands in Taiwan on an Asian tour.
Pelosi, the most senior elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, says her visit demonstrates Washington’s strong commitment to the island.
China calls the United States’ actions in Taiwan “extremely dangerous” and promises to launch “targeted military actions” in response to the visit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.