Is Taiwan part of China?

Is Taiwan part of China? China has been saying for a long time that it is. The Taiwanese do not agree, and the US takes the side of Taiwan. It is pretty obvious that it is only the presence of the USA that prevents China making a move.

It’s not easy to disentangle disinformation from the truth. The US says that China is being aggressive. China says that joint US and Taiwanese manoeuvres in its own backyard is aggressive. And everyone has an endgame, or at least a medium term endgame. So who to trust for the truth? Maybe there isn’t a truth because the parties involved are making it up as the go along, reacting to information they receive and changing position accordingly. That’s how things get out of hand.

It’s a thousand miles from Beijing to Taipei, and about one hundred miles from the nearest point on the mainland coast to the island of Taiwan. Taiwan has been a vassal state or tribute state of China in the past, and today regards itself as a totally autonomous country with a population of twenty-three million.

The Financial Times

So all that in mind, my eye was drawn to an online ‘Breaking News’ item in the Financial Times of 27th March 2021 that read ‘Exclusive – The US fears that China is flirting with the idea of seizing control of Taiwan.’

And then today I read a report from the Asia Times (Hong Kong) in the the 27 March 2021 edition of The Week that puts a new complexion on matters. There is a shortage of chips, and Taiwan is a world leader in chip production. If a ship stuck in the Suez Canal can cause havoc, what would no chips with everything do?

The Asia Times (Hong Kong)

Here’s the report from the Asia Times (Hong Kong), and a note in passing to the reference to Hong Kong, which slightly surprises me bearing in mind the crackdown from Beijing. I looked at their site (the are online only) and I cannot see a mission statement or ethics position, so I don’t know who they are.

A serious shortage of semiconductor chips is threatening to turn into a major global crisis, says Johan Svensson. The chips are integral to almost all electronic appliances; as technology advances, everything from cars to medical devices requires them. Coronavirus lockdowns were expected to lessen demand for the components, but the opposite happened: a rush for home-working technology, along with the release of several high-profile games consoles, sent orders soaring.

When car manufacturing forecasts eventually picked up, the automotive industry found itself in the midst of a crippling supply crunch; many car brands have been forced to delay or cut production. The shortage is now so serious that it has prompted dire warnings that it could slow down the global economic recovery. What’s more, it risks escalating geopolitical tensions.

There are currently only three major chip producers the world: America’s Intel, South Korea’s Samsung and TSMC. The last of these, by far ‘the most efficient’ of the three, is based in Taiwan – a ‘flashpoint’ for tensions between China and the US. For the global electronics supply chain to be dependent on a country threatened with military takeover by China is deeply worrying. The world’s governments must face this issue as a ‘top priority’.

Is Taiwan part of China

When Britain’s lease of Hong Kong expired in 1997, the parties negotiated an exit strategy and an agreement for what would happen then. Now Britain accuses China of breaking the agreement. I think that is unrealistic. What exactly did Britain think would happen? Hong Kong in the longer or shorter term is part of China, so of course Beijing wants to bring it into harmony with the rest of the country. Any other view is unrealistic or disingenuous.