China and US are going to be at loggerheads due to rising differences over Taiwan’s status. Burgeoning tensions between the island and the mainland are ringing a bell of stressed relations between China and the US. In changing world order when global power is shifting from the West to the East, the push and pull between the US and China are all leading to the Thucydides’ Trap, which is a term popularised by American Political Scientist Graham Allison in his book Destined for War, America, China and Thucydides’ Trap relates to a situation where a rising power, for instance, China challenges the incumbent (say the US).

Conflicts are heightening the dangers of war between China and the US. They may turn Taiwan into a new battleground for a power struggle. The Taiwanese president has condemned China’s approach for undermining Taiwan’s sovereignty and attack on democracy. On the other hand, Beijing has elevated both political as well as military pressure on Taipei. The US moves in this regard are certainly, not ignorable, despite having evident warnings of drastic measures by China, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visit to Taiwan is considered the manifestation of imminent war in this region.

Historical evidence shows that Mao Zedong’s communists took power in Beijing in October 1949 after defeating Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) nationalists in a civil war. The KMT fled to Island Taiwan and formed his own government in Taipei. Later on, with the US military support in 1950, Taiwan adopted the role of an ally of the US which is at war with communist China in Korea. The US protected the Taiwan strait to avoid any invasion. In 1971 Beijing took over China’s seat at the UN, previously held by Taipei. Although in 1979, the US too withdrew Taiwanese support and promoted bilateral relations with Beijing, the US acknowledged the “One China”’ policy but maintained trade and military ties with Taipei.

Undoubtedly, the impact of another hotspot amid the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war is to add fuel to injury around the globe. Although the US maintains the policy of strategic ambiguity toward Taiwan and recognizes it as a part of China in 2016, the US divergence from the policy has created crises in the South China Sea. Similarly, Joe Biden reiterates this divergence during his Middle East tour. Ultimately, the globe is on the verge of another chaos between two leading economies. The already crisis of Russia-Ukraine has drastic impacts which pushed the world towards devastation, many around the world are compelled to live below the poverty line.

So, both of the leading powers should behave responsibly and save the fragile world order from complete deterioration and avert any polarization in the world community. The US must learn from past events how to react in crises and should refrain from divergence of strategic ambiguity policy-failure that could lead to China’s inevitable retaliation.


Nankana Sahib.