While the world is focused on the goodwill that this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea supposedly brought to the Korean Peninsula, China has been ever-so-quietly increasing its military pressure on Taiwan, causing fear that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is imminent. However, recent actions by Washington — and learning from the lessons of 1950 — make such an invasion less likely.
What China has been doing over the past few months is not any different from what it did in late 2016 and early last year when it conducted surveillance missions around Taiwan or when its aircraft carrier sailed near the nation.
Relations between China and Taiwan have not changed since the inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in May 2016. What has changed, though, is US-China relations and the threat posed by North Korea.
Taiwan has done nothing out of the ordinary to cause China to increase pressure, but the US has. The US passed the Defense Authorization Act (DAA) for Fiscal Year 2018, which calls for increased military exchanges between the US and Taiwan, authorizes port calls to Taiwan for the first time and invites Taiwan to participate in bilateral naval drills.
The Taiwan Travel Act recently passed both the US House and Senate and is awaiting US President Donald Trump’s signature for it to become law.
Trump’s National Security Strategy also labeled China as a competitor, which did not help the situation. These new measures have caused Taiwan, not the US, to draw the ire of China, which is normally the case.