- Recently the Speaker of the US House of Representatives visited Taiwan, the highest level US official to visit the island since 1997.
- The visit has increased tensions between the US and China.
- Taiwan is about 160 km from the coast of southeast China. Far away is an island, opposite the Chinese cities of Fuzhou, Quanzhou and Xiamen.
- It was administered by the Imperial dynasty, but its control was passed to the Japanese in 1895.
- The island returned to Chinese hands after Japan’s defeat in World War II.
- Nationalist Kuomintang Party leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan in 1949 after the Communists led by Mao Zedong won the civil war in mainland China.
- Chiang Kai-shek established the government of the Republic of China on the island and remained president until 1975.
- The Government of the Republic of China (ROC) was transferred to Taiwan after the division of China and Taiwan in the civil war. On the other hand the Communist Party of China (CPC) established the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the mainland.
- Since then, the PRC views Taiwan as a treasonous province and awaits reunification with Taiwan by peaceful means, if possible.
- China has never recognized its existence as an independent political entity, arguing that Taiwan has always been a Chinese province.
- But there have been economic ties between China and Taiwan.
- Many Taiwanese expatriates work in China and China has invested in Taiwan.
US policy towards Taiwan:
- It has continued the ‘One China’ policy since the 1970s, under which it sees Taiwan as part of China.
- The ‘One China’ policy means that nations that wish to have diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) must sever ties with the Republic of China (ROC) and refer to the ROC as China, not the PRC.
- Under this policy the communist government in mainland China was the legitimate representative and Taiwan was a separate part of it.
- But it also has informal relations with Taiwan.
- But it also has informal ties with Taiwan and helps Taiwan defend the island from external aggression by providing military-equipment and intelligence.
China’s concerns regarding travel:
- As China considers Taiwan as part of its territory, it claimed that the visit would seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- It could seriously undermine the foundation of Sino-US relations and sends a seriously wrong signal to Taiwan’s independence forces.
- According to China, the presence of a senior American figure in Taiwan would indicate US support for Taiwan’s independence.
Indian policy towards Taiwan:
- India also follows the One China policy and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. But it has an office in Taipei for diplomatic work.
- The India-Taipei Association (ITA) is headed by a senior diplomat.
- While Taiwan has Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in New Delhi.
- India-Taiwan relations were originally centered on trade, commerce, culture and education.
- In recent days, India has further strengthened its relations with Taiwan after China’s verbal war in Galwan.
- The Indian government had chosen a diplomat to be its ambassador in Taipei.
- Simultaneously, two MPs of the ruling party attended the swearing-in ceremony of the President of Taiwan through virtual mode.
Importance of Taiwan:
- Semiconductors are such an important component that is useful for powering electronics from computers and smartphones to brake sensors in cars.
- The production of chips involves a complex network of firms that design or manufacture them, as well as those who supply the technology.
- Most semiconductors are produced in Taiwan and it dominates outsourcing semiconductor manufacturing.
- In addition, its contract manufacturers accounted for more than 60% of total global semiconductor revenue last year.