Seven decades of China-Taiwan relations

TAIPEI: As China embarks on its largest-ever military exercise around Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, AFP looks back at relations between the island self-governance and Beijing, which considers it part of China.
Mao Zedong’s communists took power in Beijing in October 1949 after defeating Chiang Kai-shek Kuomintang (KMT) nationalists in a civil war.
The Kuomintang fled to the island of Taiwan and established their own government in Taipei in December, cutting off contact with mainland China.
In 1950, Taiwan became an ally of the United States, which was at war with communist China in Korea. The United States deployed a fleet in the Taiwan Strait to protect its allies from possible attack.
In October 1971, Beijing took over China’s seat at the United Nations, previously held by Taipei.
In 1979, the United States severed official ties with Taiwan and established diplomatic relations with Beijing.
Washington continues to develop a nuanced Taiwan policy because it “acknowledges” China’s claim to the island, which is not the same as accepting Beijing’s claim of sovereignty.
The US also maintains commercial and military ties with Taipei. It opposes both Taiwan’s independence and any attempt by China to forcibly occupy the island.
In late 1987, Taiwanese people were allowed to visit mainland China for the first time, allowing families to reunite.
In 1991, Taiwan lifted the emergency regulations, unilaterally ending the state of war with China. The first face-to-face talks between the two sides were held in Singapore two years later.
But in 1995, Beijing suspended the talks in protest of Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui’s visit to the United States.
In 1996, China test-fired a missile off the coast of Taiwan to deter voters in the island’s first democratic presidential election.
In the 2000 election, the Kuomintang lost power in Taiwan for the first time. Over the next few years, trade links between the two sides will improve.
In March 2005, Beijing passed a law authorizing the use of force if Taiwan declared independence. In April, Kuomintang Chairman Liencheng made an important visit to Beijing to hold talks with Chinese leader Hu Jintao.
In 2008, Taiwan and China resumed high-level talks after the KMT Ma Ying-jeou was elected president on a Beijing-friendly platform.
In 2010, they signed the Deepening Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement and in 2014 held the first government-to-government talks since the separation.
In January 2016, Tsai Ing-wen, from the traditionally pro-independence Progressive Democratic Party, won the presidential election.
In June, China suspended all communications with Taiwan after the new government failed to acknowledge the “One China” policy.
In December 2016, the president-elect of the United States Donald Trump disrupt decades of US foreign policy by talking face-to-face, over the phone, with Tsai.
In January 2019, Xi Jinping said that the reunification of China and Taiwan was “inevitable”.
By 2021, Chinese military jets have carried out hundreds of attacks on Taiwan’s defense zone.
In October, the President of the United States Joe Biden said that the United States would defend Taiwan if China attacked it, in later comments partly returned The White House.
Tsai confirmed that a small number of US troops are present in Taiwan to help train their forces.
On August 2, after days of speculation and stern warnings from Beijing of unspecified “consequences”, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan on her tour of Asia.
The highest-ranking elected US official to visit the island in 25 years said her visit demonstrates her country’s “unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy”.
An angry China vowed “sanctions” and launched the largest-ever military exercise in the region, besieging Taiwan on August 4.
The exercises included the deployment of warplanes and warships, and the firing of ballistic missiles.

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