Tensions between China and Taiwan have been going on for decades. Throughout these years, China has never made a move to go all in on Taiwan. However, the United States and its allies fear that China will take some inspiration from Russia and their invasion of Ukraine. It does bring up the question; even if China were to invade, would they be able to take Taiwan?
Analysts say the answer is: Quite possibly. China has more troops, missiles, and ships than Taiwan and its supporters could provide. China has the world’s largest navy, with a total of around 360 ships, which is even bigger than the United States’ fleet of around 300 ships. China also has the world’s most advanced merchant fleet, a very large coast guard, and possibly a maritime militia, fishing boats who would support the military in times of need.
This huge fleet would allow China to transport the supplies they would need for such an all out invasion. Although the war would be extremely bloody, if China were to go all-out, they would be able to take Taiwan. On his trip to Asia last week, the United States President, Joe Biden, gave a strong warning to China, saying that the United States would be committed to defending Taiwan in the event of an invasion. On his trip to Asia last week, the United States President, Joe Biden, gave a strong warning to China, saying that the United States would be committed to defending Taiwan in the event of an invasion.
This may bring to mind another question; Why would China invade Taiwan and why is the United States defending it? Firstly, Taiwan is right at the doorstep of China. This means that if Taiwan stays, the United States also stays. The last thing China wants is for their strongest enemy to be that close to them. If China was able to take over Taiwan, they would be able to freely exert power over the rest of the Western Pacific, such as South Korea or Japan, and even threaten US military bases as far as Hawaii.
Although China insists that its intentions are nothing but peaceful, it does not seem to be the case. The United States wants to defend Taiwan for exactly the opposite reason. They need to have a presence in the West Pacific Ocean that would stop China from going rampant. Also, Taiwan’s economy is very crucial. Most of the electronic equipment everyday people use, such as phones or laptops, are powered by chips made in Taiwan. To put this into perspective, one Taiwanese company, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, produces chips for over half the world’s market. Overall, Taiwan has a 65% share in the global foundry market. This is why the conflict over Taiwan is in question.
To look at the history of the conflict, we can look at how Taiwan became independent from China. The split between Taiwan and China came after World War II, when fighting between nationalist government forces and the Chinese Communist Party broke out. The communists won and their leader, Mao Zedong, took power in 1949, while the nationalists, or the Kuomintang, fled to Taiwan.The Kuomintang has been ruling Taiwan for a significant part of its history. Currently, only 13 countries recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, due to China exerting high amounts of diplomatic pressure on other countries to not recognize Taiwan or to not do anything that implies recognition. Taiwan’s defense minister believes that relations with China are at the worst they have been in the past 40 years.
Although most Taiwanese people, about two-thirds of the population, do not believe that there would be war with China, it is certainly within the realm of possibility. If a war like this actually took place, the world would definitely feel it. Looking at the Russia conflict and its impact on gas prices, you can imagine what would happen with China. China is the world’s largest exporter of goods and has been since 2009. At this point, the ball is in China’s hands. If they choose to invade, an all out war between the United States backed Taiwan and China would occur. The two superpowers of the world, going head to head against each other. It is needless to say that no outcome would be a good outcome.