Keith Krach’s recent visit to Taiwan has strained the already weakening Sino-American relationship and it has created tensions between China and Taiwan. The BBC explains that the U.S. and China have been engaged in a trade war since 2018. T The New York Times furthers this, explaining that the states have been challenging each other on a wide variety of issues, including military dominance in Asia. After the arrival of the senior U.S. envoy, Taiwan’s defense ministry reported that China sent out two anti-submarine aircrafts into the defense identification zone of the island.
“I believe these activities are no help to China’s international image, and what’s more have put Taiwan’s people even more on their guard, understanding even better the true nature of the Chinese Communist regime,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters. Reuters further explains that Tsai believes that other countries in the region are starting to understand the threats from China, and that China must start to contain themselves.
Evidently, China is not pleased with the strengthening of U.S.-Taiwan relations. The potential deal, pushed by the Trump administration, would bring large packages of weapons, including long-range missiles with the ability to hit distant Chinese targets, to Taiwan, which has further displeased China. The New York Times explains that, many believe that the proposed sales are trying to shift the conversation away from President Trump’s failures in managing the coronavirus pandemic and economy, as well as his constant praise for the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. Regardless of why the Trump administration is proposing the deal, the uncertainty of what Taiwan might do with these new weapons is alarming to China.
Though Mr. Krach’s visit to Taiwan was primarily to attend the memorial service of President Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan’s Economy Minister, Wang Mei-hua, explained that there are plans to arrange for a formal economic dialogue with the United States, according to Reuters. With the United States interacting and playing an increasingly larger role in Taiwan, China is bound to feel more threatened and take action.
“They’re [China] saying, ‘We’re here, we’re not going anywhere, and we’re not going to change the way we behave toward Taiwan,’” Michael Mazza, a specialist in Asian security issues, told The New York Times. The BBC states, that even though many Taiwanese people want a separate nation, China sees the island as its own territory. The New York Times explains that some U.S. officials see the bolstering of Taiwan as an important way of creating a military counterweight to China in Asia. If the U.S. and Taiwan continue to deepen relations and establish a free trade agreement, which Reuters reports the island is aiming for, this could further strain relations with China.
Looking to the future, U.S. relations with China do not seem to be improving. Given that the Trump administration will probably continue to deal with Taiwan, to draw attention away from the president’s failures, China will most likely continue to display aggressive and threatening behavior. Though Taiwan seems to be interested in advancing its relations with the U.S., people like Chao Chun-shan, a professor in Taipei, believe that Taiwan has grown too dependent on the United States, reports The New York Times. As Taiwan and the U.S. continue to strengthen their relations, it will be important to take note of China’s course of action, to determine what will happen next in the international community.