China-Taiwan Relations

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Since the 17th century, Taiwan has been widely known to be a Chinese land. Taiwan was occupied by Chine nationals who spoke Chinese language and practiced Chinese culture. However, in 1949, Taiwan became a dependency breaking off from china enforced through a Taiwan Strait. After World War II, Taiwan was given back to China by the Japanese to become a part of Mainland China. The communist party took over the Chinese government in 1949 which forced People’s Republic of China (PRC) flee to Taiwan and create their own government. PRC took over the affairs of government in Taiwan since 1949, thus, making Taiwan a province of China. Taiwan imposed travelling bans to mainland China and martial law to strengthen their efforts to remain a dependency. To secure Taiwan from Chinese aggression, the then president solicited support from the United States and signed a peace treaty in 1954. The treaty protected Taiwan for over 30 years hence growing the economy. Recently, there have been struggles within Taiwan’s government to annex back to the Mainland China. There have been claims that President Xi Jing Ping wants to annex. This essay seeks to evaluate the relationship between China and Taiwan.

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China-Taiwan Historical Relations

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been attempting to capture Taiwan through military means since 1949. According to CCP, Taiwan was only a legitimate province of China and there was only one China. Since Taiwan was significant to mainland China due to its Straits, Beijing wanted it back to China. The majority of countries on earth still recognize this equation as the so-called one-China rule. China adopted a tranquil unification policy for Taiwan in 1979 which saw Taiwan lifting travel bans to China and the martial law (Copper, 2013). The peace treaty made Taiwan’s PRC to ease separation laws to allow Taiwan and China become one country ruled by two government systems. Taiwan forged a Cross-Strait trade treaty with China in 1990 to give China’s vessels a safe throughway (Ma, 2003). Mainland China strengthened the trade relations in 1991 with an enactment dubbed Associations for Relations across the Taiwan Straits to improve trade (ARATS).

China’s Communist party was after making one China by annexing Taiwan. However, in 1992, Taiwan passed a resolution that separated Chinese communist party government and Taiwan nationalists’ party government operations under one China. Taiwan argued that they are part of the Republic of China (ROC) and challenged China’s assertions that they are PRC, a different country with its own language, culture, and traditions (Kastner, 2009). The resolution made it clear that both Taiwan and mainland China are part of Republic of China. The terms further stated that they are equal partners during trade negotiations. However, Beijing interpreted the resolution as one China because accepting it would be creating two “Chinas.”

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Beijing, however, never pushed for its initial definition of one China, that is Taiwan and mainland China as a single unit under one leadership throughout the years of 1992 to 1995.. Beijing refrained from challenging Taiwan’s position since Taipei has adapted to one China-one China, two systems (Su, 2009). To pursue its initial plans for one China under one government, Beijing interpreted the resolution as merely spoken word that both the mainland China and Taiwan wanted one China under one system (Risse, 2000). As a result, the various parties managed to come together under a single entity but with different translations of one China since Taiwan vouched for Republic of China having two government systems. Beijing also made a compromise by leaving the interpretation of “one China” up for debate. Regarding the significance of one China, the ARATS stated in March 1992 that they were not ready to accept the resolution thus breaking the treaty (cited in Xu, 2003). This led to Taiwan’s president reinstating back previous policies that separated the two countries. China retaliated by carrying out missile tests on Taiwan’s shores and putting great emphasis on its definition of one China.

Current China-Taiwan Relations

The relations between China and Taiwan are not working out as outlined in the Cross-Straits. Taiwan is steadfast on its principle of republic of China having two government systems. In 2016, the new president Tsai Ing-Wen heightened Cross-Straits ties to remain as they have been since they were created. As a result China increased its aggression towards Taiwan flying fighter jets near Taiwan’s airspaces. There are other factors which make the relations between the two countries to break even more. The intentions of Taiwan to become a member of the United Nations (UN) and other global organizations is interpreted as an act of provocation by China (Bush, 2013). China is against Taiwan being given membership charter at the UN are against. However, the pressure continues to gain momentum as United States and some members of G20 are in support of Taiwan becoming a new member of the UN. China is also against Taiwan receiving military aid from the United States its main global economic adversary for fears of Taiwan helping the US thrive.


In conclusion, Taiwan and China relations has been in shackles for over 60 years. The People’s Republic of China party created its own government in Taiwan and declared it separate from China. However, there have been attempts to join as one china through resolutions to allow Cross-Straits relations to thrive. However, both sides have not been able to agree to unite as one country under one leadership, therefore, creating diplomatic problems between the two countries. Early 2022, their differences displayed over visitation of United States’ secretary to Taiwan. China saw it as provocation, but nothing ensued.

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  1. Bush, R. C. (2013). Uncharted strait: The future of China-Taiwan relations. Brookings Institution Press.
  2. Copper, J. (2013) The KMT Returns to Power: Elections in Taiwan 2008 to 2012. Lanham: Lexington Books.
  3. Kastner, S. (2009) Political Conflict and Economic Interdependence Across the Taiwan Strait and Beyond. Stanford: Stanford University Press
  4. Ma, Y. (2003) ‘Cross-strait relations at a crossroad: impasses or breakthrough’, in D. S. Zagoria (Ed), Breaking the China-Taiwan Impasse, Westport: Praeger, 39–65.
  5. Risse, T. (2000) ‘‘let us argue!’ communicative action in world politics’, International Organization, 54(1), 1–39.
  6. Su, C. (2009) Taiwan’s Relations with Mainland China: A Tail Wagging Two Dogs. New York: Routledge.
  7. Xu, S. (2003) ‘The 1992 consensus’, in Breaking the China-Taiwan Impasse, 81–102.
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