China and Taiwan: A Torrid Backstory

Tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan have been on the rise. Here’s what lies behind them.

Monday, April 17th, 2023 New York Times

This transcript was created using speech recognition software. While it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it may contain errors. Please review the episode audio before quoting from this transcript and email with any questions.

Sabrina Tavernise: From “The New York Times,” I’m Sabrina Tavernise. And this is “The Daily.” [MUSIC PLAYING]

The posturing between the US and China has been intensifying in recent weeks, especially when it comes to Taiwan. Today, my colleague, Edward Wong, on why China is so fixated on Taiwan and how the US got in the middle of it.

It’s Monday, April 17.

So, Ed, Taiwan has been back in the news again for the past few weeks. Tell us why.

Edward Wong: Well, Sabrina, we saw tensions spike this month over Taiwan. Earlier this month, the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, stopped in Los Angeles on her way back to Taiwan from Central America. Archived Recording (Tsai Ing-Wen)

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The world after Taiwan’s fall

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The study’s main finding is that Taiwan’s fall would have devastating consequences for the United States and many countries in the region and beyond. Regardless of how it happens (without or despite US/allied intervention), Taiwan’s fall to the PRC would be earth shattering. The PRC could eclipse US power and influence in the region once and for all. Taiwan’s fall could lead to the advent of a Pax Sinica where Beijing and its allies would pursue their interests much more aggressively and with complete impunity. Nuclear proliferation in several parts of the Indo-Pacific could also be the net result of Taiwan’s fall, leading to much more dangerous regional and international security environments. To several authors, it would thus be necessary to build an Asian equivalent to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to prevent PRC adventurism and ultimately retake Taiwan.

Accordingly, the United States, its allies, and others should take major action—rapidly—to prevent such a development. In particular, the United States should lead an effort to strengthen collective deterrence and defense in the Indo-Pacific; this is especially important in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has shown territory takeovers still happen in the twenty-first century. The United States should also give serious consideration to establishing region-wide nuclear sharing arrangements; at a minimum, it should jumpstart research to examine the benefits, costs, and risks that such arrangements would bring to the Indo-Pacific security architecture, as well as assess the opportunities and challenges that such a development would present.

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Dealing with Increased Chinese Aggressiveness (2 parts)

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Written By


Georgette Almeida
Executive Assistant

 (808) 521-6745

PacNet #7 – Dealing with Increased Chinese Aggressiveness – PART ONE

The following are some of the key findings and recommendations from the August 2022 US-Taiwan Deterrence and Defense Dialogue. PacNet 7 provides a summary of the dialogue. The full report, with expanded key findings and recommendations can be found here.

Taiwan is under attack by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) politically, economically, psychologically, and militarily—the latter through more aggressive Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) gray zone military operations short of actual direct conflict. This multidimensional threat requires a multidimensional response in ways that complement and enhance military deterrence. PRC behavior represents a global—and not just a Taiwan or US—problem which demands a global response.

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South China Sea: Taiwan’s live-fire drills irked Vietnam. Was Beijing the real target?

  • Taiwan’s recent military exercises near Taiping Island, which Vietnam claims, were ‘illegal’ and a ‘serious’ territorial violation, Hanoi fumed
  • But observers say the drills were aimed more at Beijing, as Taipei fears its far-flung islands could be easy pickings for mainland China’s military
Maria Siow

Maria Siow

scmp – Published: 8:30am, 11 Dec, 2022

A Taiwanese patrol boat fires a ship-to-ship missile during a military drill in 2006. Vietnam slammed Taiwan’s recent live-fire exercises near Taiping Island as “illegal”. Photo: AFP

A Taiwanese patrol boat fires a ship-to-ship missile during a military drill in 2006. Vietnam slammed Taiwan’s recent live-fire exercises near Taiping Island as “illegal”. Photo: AFP

Vietnam was quick to voice its displeasure this month at Taiwanese military drills near a South China Sea island that both claim, but analysts say the incident speaks more to Taipei’s anxiety for its outlying islands’ continued security than the state of its relations with Hanoi.

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Xi Jinping’s ’37-year plan’ for Taiwan reunification

Attacks on the mind and a looming crisis

nikkei – Nov. 1, 2022

The administration of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is wary of a Chinese attack launched from the nearby provinces of Fujian and Guangdong. This September photo shows piles to prevent Chinese ships from landing on the island of Kinmen, just off the mainland.

With the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th National Congress now finished, President Xi Jinping is closer than ever to becoming a leader on a par with founding father Mao Zedong. His third term as party leader will be the final stage of the “Great China” project, an initiative fraught with contradictions. This series will examine the next five years by unpacking China’s perspective and logic.

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China White Paper: The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era (Full Text)

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-08-10 10:00:00


BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) — The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China published a white paper titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era” on Wednesday.

The following is the full text of the white paper:

The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era

The People’s Republic of China

The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and The State Council Information Office

August 2022



I. Taiwan Is Part of China – This Is an Indisputable Fact

II. Resolute Efforts of the CPC to Realize China’s Complete Reunification

III. China’s Complete Reunification Is a Process That Cannot Be Halted

IV. National Reunification in the New Era

V. Bright Prospects for Peaceful Reunification



Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. It is indispensable for the realization of China’s rejuvenation. It is also a historic mission of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The CPC, the Chinese government, and the Chinese people have striven for decades to achieve this goal.

The 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012 heralded a new era in building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, the CPC and the Chinese government have adopted new and innovative measures in relation to Taiwan. They have continued to chart the course of cross-Straits relations, safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, and promote progress towards national reunification. However, in recent years the Taiwan authorities, led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), have redoubled their efforts to divide the country, and some external forces have tried to exploit Taiwan to contain China, prevent the Chinese nation from achieving complete reunification, and halt the process of national rejuvenation.

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What’s the fallout from Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?

What’s the fallout from Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan? | Inside Story

Al Jazeera English – 4-8-2022

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ended her controversial tour of Taiwan.

Despite warnings from China, the most senior American politician to visit in 25 years pledged an ‘iron-clad’ commitment to the self-ruled Island’s democracy.

Beijing is responding with live-fire military drills and import bans.

So how will Taipei and Washington deal with the consequences?

Presenter: Kim Vinnell


Vincent Chao – Former Director of the Political Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

June Teufel Dreyer – Professor of Political Science, University of Miami.

Henry Huiyao Wang- Founder and President, Center for China and Globalization.

The semiconductor problem

The military relies on advanced semiconductors. The U.S. doesn’t make any.

Chips on display in Taiwan.
Chips on display in Taiwan.Credit…Ann Wang/Reuters
David Leonhardt

By David Leonhardt

NYTimes – July 14, 2022

The most advanced category of mass-produced semiconductors — used in smartphones, military technology and much more — is known as 5 nm. A single company in Taiwan, known as TSMC, makes about 90 percent of them. U.S. factories make none.

The U.S.’s struggles to keep pace in semiconductor manufacturing have already had economic downsides: Many jobs in the industry pay more than $100,000 a year, and the U.S. has lost out on them. Longer term, the situation also has the potential to cause a national security crisis: If China were to invade Taiwan and cut off exports of semiconductors, the American military would be at risk of being overmatched by its main rival for global supremacy.

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A looming threat

NYT Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has civilians in Taiwan taking China’s aggression more seriously.

Civilians participating in a battle simulation during a combat medic training workshop near Taipei in May. Since the war in Ukraine began, a growing number of Taiwanese have been making their own preparations for war.
Civilians participating in a battle simulation during a combat medic training workshop near Taipei in May. Since the war in Ukraine began, a growing number of Taiwanese have been making their own preparations for war.Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
Ian Prasad Philbrick

By Ian Prasad Philbrick

June 19, 2022, 7:26 a.m. ET

Taiwan has spent more than seven decades under the threat of an invasion: China sees the island as a breakaway part of its territory. In the months since Russia invaded Ukraine, Taiwanese citizens have come to view a Chinese incursion as a more serious possibility than ever. My colleague Amy Qin, who’s based in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, recently reported on how the island is preparing. I called her to learn more.

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Security and Economic Challenges for Taiwan in Cross-Strait Relations

Home » Security and Economic Challenges for Taiwan in Cross-Strait Relations


Security and Economic Challenges for Taiwan in Cross-Strait Relations

Chien-pin Li is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Sam Houston State University. Before his current position, he taught at Kennesaw State University for 26 years, and was a founding member of the China Research Center. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Iowa and was an Associate Research Fellow at Academia Sinica (Taipei, Taiwan), a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States (Washington, D.C.) and a Research Fellow at the Pacific Cultural Foundation (Taipei, Taiwan). His teaching and research interests focus on East Asian political economy, including trade disputes, trade negotiations, and regional integration. He is the author of Rising East Asia: The Quest for Governance, Prosperity, and Security (2020) and has published articles in Asian Survey, Pacific Review, Issues & Studies, International Studies Quarterly, and other journals. 

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The security and economic landscape in the Indo-Pacific is increasingly difficult to navigate. While trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership signal an interest to cooperate in a region full of economic vibrancy, competition and rivalry between great powers cast significant uncertainty over the peace and stability in the region. The paradoxical trends in economic and security affairs are particularly evident in cross-Strait relations between Taiwan and China.

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China’s Threat of Force in the Taiwan Strait

By Raul “Pete” PedrozoTuesday, September 29, 2020, 9:16 AM lawfareblog

A view of Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Harbor, which faces the Taiwan Strait. (Flick/Formosa Wandering,; CC BY-NC 2.0,

Raul "Pete" Pedrozo

Captain Raul (Pete) Pedrozo, U.S. Navy (Ret.), is the Howard S. Levie Chair on the Law of Armed Conflict and Professor of International Law in the Stockton Center for International Law at the U.S. Naval War College. He was a Peer Reviewer for the International Committee of the Red Cross Commentary of 2017 on the Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members Of the Armed Forces at Sea (1949) and is currently one of two U.S. representative to the International Group of Experts for the San Remo Manual on the Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, produced by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. Prior to his retirement from the Navy he served as the senior legal advisor to Commander, U.S. Pacific Command and was a Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense. Pedrozo is co-author of the forthcoming, “Emerging Technology and the Law of the Sea” (Oxford University Press).


On Sept. 18 and 19, People’s Liberation Army combat aircraft on 40 occasions intentionally crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait that separates mainland China from the island of Taiwan. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen immediately condemned the provocation as a “threat of force.”

The center line in the Taiwan Strait (also known as the median line, middle line or Davis Line, named after Brig. Gen. Benjamin Davis, commander of Task Force 13 in Taipei and famed commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen) has its origins in the 1954 U.S.-Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty. The treaty was one link in the chain of U.S. collective defense arrangements in the Western Pacific—which included agreements with the Republic of the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Republic of Korea—designed to resist further communist subversive activities directed against their territorial integrity and political stability. Pursuant to Article V of the Mutual Defense Treaty, an armed attack in the treaty area, which included Taiwan and the Pescadores (or Penghu) Islands, directed against the territory of either party would be considered a danger “to its own peace and safety” and each party “would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.” An addendum to the treaty established a buffer zone into which U.S. aircraft were not allowed to enter.

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Southeast Asians sticking with China on Taiwan: survey

asiatimesDemocracy Perception Index survey shows most Southeast Asians would not support cutting economic ties with China if it invades Taiwan

By DAVID HUTTJUNE 1, 2022Print

Military helicopters carrying large Taiwan flags do a flyby rehearsal on October 5, 2021, ahead of National Day celebrations amid escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. Photo: AFP / Ceng Shou Yi / NurPhoto

A recent Democracy Perception Index survey of worldwide public opinion found that a majority of Southeast Asians would not support their governments cutting economic ties with China if Beijing launched an invasion of Taiwan. 

The same report found that only Singaporeans, from the six Southeast Asian countries surveyed, favored cutting economic ties with Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine in February. Indonesians and Vietnamese were two of the three nationalities who believed most strongly that ties with Russia should be maintained.  

The Democracy Perception Index 2022 survey, published this month by Latana and the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, asked respondents: “If China started a military invasion of Taiwan, do you think your country should cut economic ties with China?” 

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Has Washington’s Policy Toward Taiwan Crossed the Rubicon?

December 10, 2021  by Paul Heer, The National Interest

Testimony from officials in the State Department and Defense Department this week included subtle but important shifts in the U.S. policy toward Taiwan

The ground shifted under Washington’s policy toward Taiwan on December 8, a shift no less seismic for being subtle and semantic. During a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner asserted that Taiwan is “a critical node within the first island chain (in the Western Pacific), anchoring a network of U.S. allies and partners … that is critical to the region’s security and critical to the defense of vital U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific.”

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