A Taiwan flag is seen during a Navy drill ahead of the Lunar New Year in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

China issued a warning to Taiwan Thursday threatening military action for what it considers interference by foreign powers such as the U.S. Beijing claims Taiwan as a territory, despite the fact that Taiwan continues to express its independence. The Chinese government proclaimed that independence for Taiwan “means war,” and Chinese fighter jets and bombers were spotted in Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone.

Much of the tension surrounding Taiwan as it relates to China and the U.S. stems from the ambiguity of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which states that the U.S. is committed to defending Taiwan but does not clearly define the exact nature of its commitment to do so. China maintains that Taiwan is not a sovereign nation, and China’s intensified Wolf-Warrior diplomacy tactics would quell the push for independence in favor of returning Taiwan to full Chinese control. 

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby responded to the warning, stating, “We find that comment unfortunate and certainly not commensurate with our intentions to meet our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act.” Kirby added that Washington sees no reason why tensions surrounding Taiwan should merit increased military action.  

Chinese state-run media outlet Global Times published an editorial offering a stern warning to both the U.S. and Taiwan, stating, “Do not misjudge or underestimate the Chinese mainland’s determination and will to defend its territorial integrity and to severely punish the reckless acts of ‘Taiwan independence’ forces.” The article also threatens to teach Taiwan an “unprecedented lesson” if it continues to “collude with the U.S.” Chinese military aircraft have recently simulated missile attacks on U.S. forces near Taiwan, which authorities in Washington are calling a “clear display of threat” to U.S. Naval forces protecting Taiwan and Japan’s Senkaku Islands, all of which China seeks to claim as its own territory.

Heightened tensions in the region come as Taiwan’s economy outpaces China’s economic growth for the first time since 1990. Taiwan owes this success to its booming electronic component exports as well as its rapid and effective containment of the coronavirus.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Can Taiwan feel at ease with Biden as U.S. president? – Focus Taiwan – 1/29/2021
Lai, former executive director of the ruling-Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP’s) mission in the U.S., said the Biden administration’s approach to China would not be “soft” considering the composition of its foreign policy and national security team. “Likewise, although Biden’s support for Taiwan might not be as straightforward as Trump, its intensity would be stronger than that of Barack Obama,” he said.

US urges calm after China tells Taiwan independence means war – Fox News – 1/29/2021
Taiwan and China separated amid civil war in 1949 and China says it is determined to bring the island under its control by force if necessary. The U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but is legally required to ensure Taiwan can defend itself and the self-governing democratic island enjoys strong bipartisan support in Washington.

China warns Taiwan independence ‘means war’ as US pledges support – BBC News – 1/29/2021
Analysts say Beijing is becoming increasingly concerned that Taiwan’s government is moving the island towards a formal declaration of independence and it wants to warn President Tsai Ing-wen against taking steps in that direction. President Tsai, however, has repeatedly said that Taiwan is already a independent state, making any formal declaration unnecessary.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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