May 23, 2024

Taiwan is an important U.S. ally in the Indo-Pacific region since it is a leading democracy and a technical giant.  Another important thing about the country is that it is an important choke point between two of the world’s biggest powers, the US and China .

Taiwan is an island stuck in a kind of political limbo. It is a democratic self governing territory just a few kilometers away from China which claims the island state as its own territory. Here comes the USA which has taken on the role of neighborhood cop in the Indo-Pacific region . US-China rivalry has made the island state one of the most crucial strategic locations in the globe. Despite lacking formal diplomatic ties, the US maintains a strong unofficial relationship with Taiwan. 

Geopolitical Rivalry

Geopolitical rivalry regarding the South-China sea is another factor. Military posture is a regular thing for China. But following the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit in Taipei the tension between the two countries has only escalated. The quantity of fighter jets that fly into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone has increased drastically. They now cross the so-called median line between Taiwan and the PRC.

There is a current internal discussion in the US over how to keep the region stable, especially with regard to Taiwan, which is a self-governing island, and how to stop China from waging war. Currently, Washington maintains a policy of “strategic ambiguity,” meaning that it intentionally keeps unclear how much the United States would militarily intervene if there was a confrontation on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. This tactic is predicated on the idea that maintaining uncertainty about U.S. intentions to all parties—including China and Taiwan—acts as a deterrent and avoids miscalculations.

The US sells Taiwan a lot of weapons and recently gave $80 million dollars in military aid . On one hand , it does not support the state in declaring independence unilaterally . On the other hand, if China attacks Taiwan unprovoked , then the United States is very likely to defend its ally.

The Stand Of Taiwan

In Taiwan , over the years political parties have taken different positions .Some have been slightly more pro-China while others have been more pro-independent. But even those parties have been careful about explicitly pushing for full sovereignty . Most have preferred to kind of fudge it , because that’s what the Taiwanese people seem to prefer .

The political spectrum that Taiwanese voters place themself on is kind of a neutral position. It is a long line, one end there is the immediate unification with the People’s Republic Of China (PRC) and on the other end there is immediate independence as the Republic Of Taiwan and in the middle there is the neutral position , namely the status quo . From decades of public opinion research it has been proved that the Taiwanese people do not want either extreme. The majority of Taiwanese voters want the status quo . They do not love this existing grey zone .But it is a choice of pragmatism where they know that any radical change could lead to wide scale conflict

The US foreign policy regarding Taiwan in the coming days is quite ambiguous as both the USA and Taiwan have elections this year. In January 2024, Taiwanese voters have already elected Lai Ching-te as their new president who will help determine the next chapter in dealing with the USA and China . In a way, the US presidential election in 2024 will really set the tone on how the country deals with Taiwan.

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