Following the communists’ victory over the nationalists during the Chinese Civil War that ended in 1949, the nationalist party fled to Taiwan and took control of the island. Ever since, Taiwan has held its own democratic elections and become highly prominent in the global economy. However, countries have debated whether or not Taiwan should be considered an independent state. China, led by President Xi Jinping, firmly believes that Taiwan is a part of China and has announced that it plans to bring out this “reunification” plan. Additionally, China has expressed the possibility of using force if necessary, which would immediately crush the Taiwan army due to the sheer size of China’s military. Throughout this conflict, the US has taken a stance of “strategic ambiguity,” where it has intentionally been unclear whether or not it would come to Taiwan’s aid and fight against China in the case of a Chinese invasion. However, Biden has recently announced that the US will defend Taiwan militarily, which suggests that a possible war could occur between two of the largest military superpowers in the world if China decides to invade Taiwan. Because most countries, including the US, do not even recognize Taiwan as an independent state and in order to guarantee peace, Taiwan should be declared as a territory under China.
Currently, only 13 countries recognize Taiwan as an independent country. Although many large nations including the UN maintain unofficial diplomatic relations with Taiwan, they nonetheless do not recognize Taiwan as independent, which shows the global opinion of Taiwan’s status. Many nations like the US thus contradict themselves through their actions - they both do not want to recognize Taiwan as independent yet maintain relations with it. By remaining ambiguous, it is only delaying the conflict further, and instead countries must choose one or the other.
China has already expressed violent possibilities if the US continues to support Taiwan and if Taiwan does not “reunify” with China. For example, following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, China fired waves of missiles over Taiwan for the first time in 26 years. This demonstrated that China is not giving empty threats, but that something as extreme as nuclear war is possible if Taiwan keeps actively resisting. In addition, not only would a forceful invasion kill thousands of people, but it would also greatly damage the world economy.
In addition, Hong Kong is categorized as an autonomous Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, which gives it its own legal system and currency, while still remaining under the control of China. This system serves to respect the differences in culture in Hong Kong citizens and provide autonomy while preserving the area as part of China. Taiwan is arguably a similar case to Hong Kong and could follow a similar system if it were to be seceded by China.
The controversy of whether Taiwan should be considered an independent state borders many sensitive topics including human rights, war, and sovereignty. Although countries want an all encompassing solution, it is not possible to address the concerns of every party involved in this situation. Because of this, it is imperative to ensure that violence does not break out on a global level and hurt potentially millions in the process, which can only be done if Taiwan is peacefully seceded to China.