Monday, July 22, 2024

China’s ‘Show of Power’ Ahead of the Annual Invasion Training in Taiwan  

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Recent reports claim that China sent 38 planes and 9 navy vessels around Taiwan in 24 hours starting from 6 am on 11th July 2023. Later it sent another 30 aircrafts to the region around Taiwan. Several of these crossed the unofficial sea boundary between Taiwan and China called Taiwan Strait.

China sends navy ships and a large group of warplanes toward Taiwan | Zee Business
PC Zee Business

Experts claim it is a show of power ahead of the Taiwans’ military exercise called Han Guang. Earlier in April the Taiwanese government advised its citizens to prepare for invasion. Additionally, Taiwan holds annual exercises called Wan’an for civilians. These programs are aimed to prepare its locals for the Chinese invasion threat as well as natural disasters.

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China and Taiwan’s Complicated Trade Relations

Taiwan and China's Complex History
PC Geopolitical Futures

China is one of Taiwan’s largest trading partners. In 2022 reports claim that China accounted for around 40% of Taiwan’s total exports. Last month’s reports claim this amount to be reduced to 22%. Moreover, 21% of Taiwan’s imports in 2021 were from China. The bilateral trade between China and Taiwan amounts to billions of dollars, contributing to the economic growth of both regions.

China is a significant source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for Taiwan. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, China was the second-largest source of FDI for Taiwan in 2020.

The investment flows into the manufacturing, services, and technology sectors of Taiwan. Until 2019, a significant number of Chinese tourists contributed to the tourism industry of Taiwan. The $790.7 billion economy of Taiwan has a projected GDP of 2.04 for 2023.

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The strong and robust economy, characterized by high levels of GDP per capita, low unemployment rates, and a well-developed industrial and technology sector present Taiwan as a lucrative region to the stumbling Chinese economy. Furthermore, Taiwan’s robust economy makes it a major player in the global supply chain. Its integration with China would grant Beijing and the CCP greater economic leverage and control over critical industries, resources, and trade routes. Thereby, enhancing China’s global economic dominance.

Taiwan’s Geopolitical Importance to China

Dealing with Taiwan - Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik

China claims Taiwan as its province in the Pacific Ocean. The reunification of Taiwan with Taiwan is a matter of national sovereignty and territorial integrity for the CCP. China’s claim to Taiwan is its attempt to consolidate global power and flex muscles among the nations of the world. Taiwan’s strategic location at a crucial position in the Western Pacific region is a major factor for the Chinese aggression towards the nation. Taiwan serves as a gateway between the East China Sea and the South China Sea. It can offer China strategic depth and control over key shipping routes in the Pacific. Therefore, Taiwan as a first island chain member is pivotal to China’s ambitions in the region.

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Moreover, Taiwan would provide China access to established military bases and naval & air assets closer to crucial areas. This furthers China’s goals to project power and restrict the movement of foreign military forces in the Pacific region. With Taiwan under its control, China’s sphere of influence in the Asia-Pacific region would expand significantly. It would undermine the regional influence of the United States, Japan, and other foreign countries in Asia. Therefore, This could potentially reshape power dynamics and weaken the presence of the United States in the Pacific.

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