As China and Taiwan close in on their own conflicts, the Chinese government is reminding Taiwan just how under their thumb they are. This kind of leverage is a result of their decades-old relationship where Taiwan is not a completely free nation, but also not run by China. This murky relationship leaves them in a precarious situation with Russia as the two have recently become committed to one another and Taiwan gets left out in the cold.
When Russia introduced the idea of imposing sanctions on Taiwan, they were not the only country. They had created a list of ‘unfriendly’ countries that now need to conduct any and all business with the approval of the Russian government on a case-by-case basis. This means no more free trade between the nations.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian was pushed for his response to these sanctions back on Monday, and while short his statement was to the point.
“As to why Taiwan is on the list, the answer is clear to all. If Taiwan is sanctioned, it has only itself to blame.” This incredibly short statement leaves Taiwan out to dry in the eyes of the Chinese government.
For a country that wants to claim ownership over the nation, they treat them more like an enemy than an ally or resource. Taiwan, on the other hand, stands by its assertation that they are in fact a free nation, and, as such, welcome to do what they choose.
Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Joanne Ou responded to the quote with a statement of her own to Newsweek.
“It is an objective fact that neither side is subordinate to the other… The Chinese government should acknowledge reality, engage in self-reflection, renounce its false claims and coercive behavior, and assume its international responsibilities to help resolve disputes and promote peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and throughout the region.”
The dispute of Taiwan’s status grows even murkier as the months go by. While Taiwan and the rest of the world seem to all be on the same page of Taiwan being a free nation, and able to do as they see fit, China does not.
China is ever-increasing its pressure for the One China system and believes nobody should interfere with its relationship with Taiwan. Much like a bad relationship, these two have lots of disagreements and many of them look to turn violent at any moment.
In much the same aspect, Taiwan is going out of its way to avoid provoking China but will not allow itself to be bullied. Any time China tries to send their aircraft into Taiwan airspace, the Taiwanese government is quick to respond with fighter jets of their own. China is even going so far as to encourage the US specifically not to push the Taiwan issue as the latest appropriations bill has language in it about banning federal maps without the correct depiction of Taiwan.
In response to this, China reminded the US that this is not an issue they believe the US wants to get into, as they consider this to be a dangerous move, and if done wrong it would have the potential to bring grave consequences to the US. While whatever kind of sanctions Russia has to impose have yet to materialize, Taiwan is joining other democratic countries and has ordered sanctions of their own against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
Taiwan has openly stated that they have seen nothing unusual from China as of late and that the Russian invasion has caused incredible challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. They also are against any aggression with or towards China. They realize that conflict with China would ultimately prove disastrous for anyone involved.