In response to a more aggressive China, free nations around the world are boosting support for Taiwan. Most of the world, including the United States, does not officially recognize Taiwan as an independent country. However, it also wants the island to stay free of Chinese control.
Czech Send Large Delegation to Taiwan
The Czech Republic, a key US ally, is making headlines for sending a 90-person delegation to Taiwan. The country is a major US ally. However, it has recently been viewed as one of the most receptive European nations to Chinese influence.
As expected, China reacted angrily to news of the delegation. China’s top diplomat said that the Czech Republic would pay a “heavy price” for its warming relations with Taiwan, calling it a “provocation”.
In a tour through Central Europe, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Czech capital of Prague. When discussing China’s changing role in the world, he said,
“The Chinese Communist Party leverages economic power to coerce countries. In your country alone, we see influence campaigns against your politicians and security forces, the theft of industrial data, and the use of economic leverage to stifle freedom itself.”
Pompeo will also visit Slovenia and Poland, both of which are part of NATO. The tour appears to focus on countering both Russian and Chinese influence. It also pays attention to quelling fears that the US is withdrawing from the region.
New Taiwanese Office in France
Taiwan is also further developing relations with one of Europe’s most powerful countries: France. A new Taiwanese office is opening in the south of France, with the goal of greater political and cultural exchange, as well as cooperation on democratic and public health issues.
China condemned this move as well. Chinese state media outlet, the Global Times, wrote that “Taiwan's self-pleasing move is like spiritual opium obtained through provoking the Chinese mainland.” The article went on to warn that the “Chinese mainland will show no mercy to the Taiwan secessionists' gang.”
US Beefs Up Security Relationship
US steps up support for Taiwan with 'significant adjustments' in 'one-China' policy https://t.co/Kn8lW2rspT
— Republic (@republic) September 1, 2020
The US has also made moves to beef up its security relationship with Taiwan in order to counter a more aggressive China. The US government recently declassified security guarantees made to Taiwan during the Reagan Administration, sending the message that the US is willing to fight to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, and maintains its willingness to invade the island if necessary in order to unify it with the rest of China.
The State Department’s top diplomat for East Asia, David Stilwell, told the Heritage Foundation,
“We will continue to help Taipei resist the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to pressure, intimidate, and marginalize Taiwan.”
Adding teeth to these words, US company Lockheed Martin is opening a major repair hub for Taiwan’s F-16s. Taiwan is set to have the largest, most battle-ready F-16 fleet of any Asian country. This gives it a significant air advantage in the event of conflict with a neighbor.
Reigning China In
Warmer relations between Taiwan and other free nations are more about China than Taiwan itself. As China becomes bolder and more aggressive on the world stage, nations are coming together to reign in the Red Dragon. Whether China backs down, or ups the ante, will determine the course of this century.
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