China-Taiwan tensions explained

US President Joe Biden has pledged support for Taiwan if China invades the territory

During a news conference alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Mr Biden said the US would intervene militarily if China moved troops to Taiwan.

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His comments drew a mixed reaction, with the White House itself addressing those comments.

But what is the situation between Taiwan and China, where is the country located and what was the reaction to Biden’s statements?

Here’s everything you need to know about the situation.

Everything you need to know about Taiwan-China tensions. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Where is Taiwan?

Taiwan is a country in East Asia, located about 100 miles off the southeast coast of the People’s Republic of China.

Taiwan is officially known as the Republic of China.

More than 23 million people live in the country, with Taipei, the capital, home to 2.5 million people.

What is the history between Taiwan and China?

Tensions between Taiwan and China began during World War II while fighting continued on the mainland.

After the communists won the battle in 1949 and Mao Zedong took control, the defeated Nationalist Party fled to Taiwan.

Since then, there has been a dispute between the two territories over whether Taiwan is a sovereign state.

Which countries recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state?

China has made it clear to countries that they will not be able to have diplomatic ties with both China and Taiwan and that they can only have ties with one.

Therefore, out of 193 UN member states, only 12 have recognized Taiwan’s sovereign state.

  • Belize
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Paraguay
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Tuvalu

The Vatican City also recognizes Taiwan as an independent state.

The United States recognized Taiwan as a sovereign state for 30 years after the Chinese Civil War, which ended in 1979.

The country continues to maintain friendly relations with Taiwan.

Will China Invade Taiwan?

Since the civil war in the 1940s, Beijing has insisted that Taiwan be reunited with China because it is a rebel region.

China has said any Taiwanese attempt to establish the country as an independent state will be met with methods such as invasion.

Taiwan’s defense minister reportedly said relations between the two territories are at a 40-year low.

Some experts believe the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine may embolden China, a notable Russia ally, to take similar action.

What did Joe Biden say about Taiwan?

When asked by a reporter at the joint press conference with Mr. Kishida, Mr. Biden said the US would offer military aid to Taiwan should China invade the country.

He said: “That is the commitment we have made.

“We agree to the one China policy. We signed it and made all the arrangements that go with it, but the notion that it can be taken by force is (just not) appropriate.”

The One China Policy is a program whereby the US recognizes China’s position that Taiwan is not an independent state, but the country has not officially recognized China’s claim to the territory.

The US has supplied Taiwan with defensive weapons in the past, but has so far been reluctant to comment on military intervention.

What was the reaction to Joe Biden’s comments?

The White House issued a backtrack to Mr Biden’s comments, saying that despite the apparent change in position on military aid, the US stance remains the same.

A White House official said: “As the President said, our policy has not changed.

“He reaffirmed our one-China policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also reaffirmed our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means of self-defense.” China-Taiwan tensions explained


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