Taiwan and China: Strait Talking

Taiwan is about to elect a new parliament this month. In the background, increasingly belligerent noises from both sides of the Taiwan Strait about independence and unification overwhelm conciliatory gestures, and the promise of new leadership.

The World Today Updated 19 October 2020 Published 1 December 2004 4 minute READ

Gerald Chan

If a third world war were to break out, it might well be triggered by a military conflict between China and Taiwan. Beijing has deployed over six hundred missiles in Fujian Province, aimed at the island one hundred miles across the Taiwan Strait. It threatens to use force if formal independence is ever declared. Taiwan, however, is determined to defend itself, with the help of the United States.

Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, passed by the US Congress following the switch of diplomatic relations from the Republic of China on Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China on the mainland in 1979, Washington has continued to sell the island defensive weapons. This has remained a major stumbling block in Sino-American relations.

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