There’s one embarrassing stumbling block China has to remove before it can ever hope to become a world superpower. That stumbling block, the island of Taiwan, is the last remaining holdout of the greatest ideological enemy of the communist People’s Republic of China.
Taiwan, or the Republic of China, is all that remains of the enemy the communists fought off the mainland during the country’s brutal civil war. The communists have never forgotten that this one small chain of islands keeps China from being truly unified. Now, they say their troops stand ready to take Taiwan back by force.
On Wednesday, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qing said China would pursue peaceful attempts at unification. But he was adamant that “no” was not an acceptable answer for the communists.
“However, we must firmly point out that seeking Taiwan independence is a dead end,” Reuters reports Wu said.
“If there are people who dare to try to split Taiwan from the country,” Wu continued, “China’s military will be ready to go to war to firmly safeguard national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.”
Although Wu didn’t name a specific country, his fiery rhetoric comes after an arms deal worth over $2 billion between the United States and Taiwan.
The arms include over 100 M1A2 Abrams tanks, anti-tank systems, and stinger missiles. Although this won’t do much to fight off a full-scale invasion by the 2 million-strong People’s Liberation Army, it shows that the United States will not let the communists sweep over Taiwan without a fight.
Living in fear of its massive neighbor is nothing new for Taiwan, and invasion drills are not out of the ordinary.
One exercise from earlier this year was a massive show of force from the fortress island. Tanks, fighter jets, infantry, and navy components all participated in the practice, holding a beachhead from a simulated invasion force.
The exercise shows the sheer depth of defense on the tiny island. A Chinese attack could come in the form of a naval invasion or a full-on air assault, and there’s a good chance it may include elements of both.
Taiwan appears to be just as resolute in the field of diplomacy when it comes to Chinese aggression.
“We urge Beijing authorities to renounce irrational, malicious acts such as the use of force,” a statement from Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said, “and to improve cross-strait relations and handle issues including Hong Kong rationally, so that it can be a responsible regional member.”
If China’s modern history is any indication, it looks like Taiwan is in for a fight to keep their independence.
Independence movements in Hong Kong, Tibet, and East Turkestan have been met with brutal crackdowns from military and police. The message is clear: There is no future apart from communist China.
Taiwan faces an existential crisis. The People’s Republic of China does not accept a future where the island is not ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, and they’ve made it clear how far they’re willing to go to make it happen.
For now the island’s only hope is the strength of the United States, half a world away.
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