As tensions between China and the US escalate, following a series of event such as the visit of US House speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in August last year and the recent incident of the spy balloon in the American airspace, Taiwan has become the main contention point between the superpower giants. China sees Taiwan as a part of its territory and would use all means necessary to control it. Some analysts believe that China might attack Taiwan by 2025 or 2027.
Taiwan, which has been on guard ever since the visit of Nancy Pelosi to the island has ramped up its military exercises and drills in the region. Recently, the Taiwanese missile units based near Taipei were barred from taking leave during the Lunar New Year festivities and were on a standby during the whole period in a attempt to safeguard the island from any provocations from the Chinese side as tensions in the Taiwan Strait has flared up once again. The missile units were also ordered to be ready to fire the land-based Tien Kung-3 (Sky Bow) missiles to deter any potential attacks from China.
Even though China on various occasions has warned the US of not fiddling in its internal matter, the US has supported Taiwan via various measures as it remains vary of the Chinese government. US’s indulgence with the Taiwanese has prompted the Chinese government to increase its exercises near the island. The US does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country; it still opposes any instigation from the Chinese side to occupy the island by the use of force in an attempt to limit the rise of China in the region.
In a memo dated February 1, that was leaked later on, US Air Force General Mike Minihan had predicted that the US would go to war with China over Taiwan by 2025 citing Taiwan’s and US’s Presidential elections which are both supposed to be held in 2024, which would provide the Xi regime an opportunity to attack Taiwan. As per the memo, he has even ordered his commanders to make detailed preparations. Many such predictions about the fate of Taiwan have been made over the past few years. In 2021, retired admiral Philip Davidson had stated in a Japanese media about his prediction of the People’s Liberation Army, PLA to attack Taiwan by 2027 as the PLA celebrates its centenary then.
The island chain which runs through Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines in East Asia is of strategic importance to both the US and China. The control of it would help the US to cut off the PLA from entering the Western Pacific while delimiting China from procuring a site to attack the US military. However, if China fails to secure it, it would lose the control of the major shipping routes in Asia.
Even thought the Democratic Progressive Party government has sided with the US, the presidential elections in Taiwan in 2024, might lead to a change in the regime. Even if the Kuomintang government comes to power, the superpower rivalry between the two nations in the Taiwan Strait is highly unlikely to be avoided. Amidst fresh reports of a planned visit to Taiwan by Kevin McCarthy, US House speaker, which were warned against by the Chinese side, tensions over Taiwan is likely to increase and the fate of the island remains unknown.
*Image Courtesy: Paresh Cartoons