Taiwan Escalation

As China concludes its “Joint Sword-2024A” military drills in the Taiwan strait – encircling the island with its navy and aircraft - the world looks on at what could possibly be a conflict that it will have to contend with within the foreseeable future.

The Taiwan question has been unresolved since the birth of the modern People’s Republic of China, and while China and the US have faced off over the island numerous times – usually through shows of military strength and political rhetoric – this time, the danger of this flashpoint conflagrating into a ‘hot’ war is much more real.

The first reason for this is the increasingly separatist tone of Taiwanese politics, which up until now had maintained the “One-China Policy” – the notion that Taiwan and mainland China are inseparable, with the only question being who should rule the entirety of it.

But that is changing. The drills were launched three days after Taiwan’s new President Lai Ching-te took office and made an inauguration speech that China denounced as a “confession of independence.” Furthermore, Lai vowed to continue the policies of his predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen, who had a pivotal role in building up Taiwan’s military capabilities in partnership with the United States, to act as a deterrent against a ‘potential invasion from China’. This coupled with the recent re-tooling of the US military machine to counter “near-peer rivals” - instead of lightly militants in the Middle East - as it prepares to take on China in the Pacific, makes the threat of a breakaway much more credible.

The second reason is, that China now possesses the ability to invade the island. This is a far cry from the civil war, where the Kuomintang retreated across the strait to the mountainous island and the CCP did not have the resources to mount an amphibious assault.

China’s rapid military modernization has shocked the United States, which is now seeking to encircle the country in the Pacific with the support of its allies in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia.

As China continues to match, and in some cases even exceed the United States, militarily and economically, the chances of this conflict igniting continue to increase.

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