Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Taiwan China Tensions

I thought I would make a comment on the current tensions across the Taiwan Strait, but the whole situation is so complicated I'm not really sure where to start. There is not really any point to going into the history of the situation. The fact is that for all intents and purposes Taiwan is an independent state. As much as China claims sovereignty over Taiwan in reality China has no control over anything in Taiwan what so ever. Unfortunately for Taiwan however another reality is that China's growing economic power is giving it an ever-increasing influence over how the rest of the world deals with Taiwan.

Fifteen years ago the then Taiwan government set up a China Unification Council along with a set of guidelines setting out the path to unification with the mainland. Yesterday the president of Taiwan Chen Shui-bian shut down both the council and the guidelines declaring that the previous government had no right to set up either without first asking the people of Taiwan if it was what they wanted.

Beijing has angrily replied to Chen Shui-bian's actions by declaring that under no circumstances will China ever allow Taiwan independence and stated that Chen is endangering the whole population of Taiwan through his actions. I suspect however that Chen's actions are at least in part a retaliation for China passing a law late last year which made the invasion of Taiwan legal according to Chinese law.

There is no doubt that Chen want's recognised independence for Taiwan, and I'm sure most of the population of Taiwan would as well, but I doubt many of them would say that they want independence at any cost.


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