Where do China-Taiwan relations stand? | Explained

Source: Indian Express

Subject: International Relation

Topic: Global issues

Issue: China Taiwan relation, Presidential election in Taiwan

Why in news: Recent presidential election in Taiwan and shrinkage of diplomatic space for Taiwan


More about the news:

  • Recently Taiwan concluded its democratic elections in January.
  • It resulted in the election of Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the new President.
  • Despite the DPP’s win, Nauru, a small island nation, announced a shift in diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing,
  • This shows continuity of a pattern observed during the previous term of President Tsai Ing-wen.

China’s strategy and shrinkage of diplomatic space for Taiwan

  • China has consistently lured smaller nations with promises of financial investment and infrastructure development.
  • This has resulted in a reduction in the number of countries recognizing Taiwan, which currently stands at 11, down from 22 in 2016.
  • The DPP is perceived as a pro-independence party and thus the pressure from Beijing and the pace at which Taiwan has been losing allies is increasing.
  • This is also because Taiwan is unable to match China’s deep pockets.

Key points about status of China and Taiwan ties:

  1. A) 1992 Consensus:
  • The main point of contention in China-Taiwan relations is the refusal of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen to accept the ‘1992 consensus.’
  • This consensus acknowledges the principle of ‘one China’ and was agreed upon between the Kuomintang (KMT, pro status-quo party) and the Communist Party of China (CPC).
  1. B) Taiwanese Consensus:
  • President Tsai has publicly stated that the ‘1992 consensus’ goes against the ‘Taiwanese consensus.’
  • This reflects a divergence in views between the political leadership in Taiwan and the historical agreement reached in 1992.
  1. C) Taiwanisation:
  • There is a rise in ‘Taiwanisation’ among the younger generation in Taiwan.
  • This generation does not feel a strong historical affinity with China and identifies primarily as Taiwanese.
  • Growing up in a democratic political environment, they do not share the historical narratives of a united China.
  1. D) Aggressiveness under Xi Jinping:
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has intensified aggressiveness towards Taiwan.
  • The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the reunification of Taiwan are significant goals for Xi,
  • Xi has consistently expressed displeasure towards the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan due to its pro-independence stance.
  1. E) New Year’s Address by Xi:
  • In his New Year’s address, President Xi remarked that reunification with Taiwan is “inevitable” and emphasized that Taiwan is a “sacred territory.”
  • However, the electoral victory of the DPP indicates that the Taiwanese people are not in a hurry for reunification.

Democracy in Taiwan:

  • Taiwan conducted its first democratic elections in 1996, marking a significant milestone in its political history.
  • Since 1996, Taiwan’s democracy has strengthened and become more regularized.
  • The island has held subsequent elections, solidifying its commitment to democratic governance.
  • Taiwan’s democracy challenges the notion propagated by the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) that it is the only viable political option for the Chinese people.


  • Despite the DPP’s electoral victory under President Lai Ching-te, Taiwan’s future path is anticipated to be more challenging.
  • The pressure from China, especially given its discontent with the DPP’s pro-independence stance, is likely to intensify.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has denied setting a specific timeline for the ultimate reunification of Taiwan with China.
  • President Lai Ching-te will need to navigate adeptly through various diplomatic challenges.
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