A Possible China-Taiwan Conflict?

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryMy friend Russ, who has lived in Taiwan for 32 years, told me that more air raid drills were being conducted across the island. He saw on Taiwan TV more new programs of the Taiwan military preparing battle simulations, and Taiwan TV also showed more Chinese aircraft and naval ships intruding into Taiwan’s air and water defense zones. All of this seems to show that China is ratcheting up the conflict level with Taiwan. It seems that the Chinese military is pushing the envelope in what it will do against Taiwan, and seems to be preparing for war. Taiwan is equally preparing for war as the Taiwan government has announced it will spend an additional U.S. $15 billion to its defense budget. For an island the size of Taiwan, that is a huge amount.

During the last weekend, the Chinese military has sent over 100 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone. These aircraft were not just fighter jets but included bombers and nuclear-capable bombers that can carry nuclear weapons. If the Chinese military ever tried to do anything like this to the United States, there is little doubt that this would be an act of war. That the Chinese military is doing this to Taiwan is becoming terrifying. One other thing I should mention is that both U.S. and Japanese battleships are in the area, watching the Chinese. If China should indeed attack Taiwan, what would the U.S. and Japanese armed forces do, and would they by involved in a military confrontation with China?

To understand what this is all about, I should provide a little background why there is a conflict between China and Taiwan. It started with the end of World War II. After the Japanese surrendered to the Allied forces (China being on the side of the Allies), the then Republic of China was given Taiwan as a prize for its fight against Japan. The Republic of China was under the rule of the Nationalist Party then led by President Chiang Kai-shek. Japan had seized control of Taiwan in 1895, and the Allied forces had returned the island to China in 1945. However, a civil war between the Chinese Nationalists and the Chinese Communists had erupted, and the Communists won and took over all of China in 1949. The Nationalists retreated to Taiwan.

That Nationalists then ruled Taiwan as a de facto independent country from 1949 until they lost power in 2000. Since then, Taiwan has become a democratic multi-party state with freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and with free elections being held every four years. The Communists, who have ruled China since 1949, have created a totalitarian one-party state. Since they took control of all China, they have vowed to take Taiwan as well. With the advent of the dictatorship of China’s current leader Xi Jinping, China looks poised to try to take Taiwan. The danger is that war could erupt between Japan and the United States on the one hand and China on the other. The one big question now is will China pull the trigger?

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