On 10 December, Nicaragua severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and started diplomatic relations with China. That reduced from fifteen to fourteen the number of countries that recognise Taiwan (The Republic Of China) as an independent country, not part of China proper.
Just to step back in time for a moment, hostilities between the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek who fled to Taiwan in 1949 and the Communists (who remained on the mainland) never formally ended. As a result, relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have never been established on an official basis.
The fifteen, now fourteen, countries that recognise Taiwan are very small countries. So on one hand, the loss of one country is of minor importance. On the other hand, if the trend were to continue then Taiwan’s claim to be an independent country would suffer to the point of being a pariah among nations.
Mainland China has been making noises about reclaiming Taiwan. So what is the chance of it happening? Australia has strong ties with Taiwan, as has the United States. Any move from China would be seen as aggressive. Would China care?
- Taiwan is about 160 kilometres (100 miles) across the Taiwan Strait from mainland China.
- It has a substantial army for its size, but it is a small island compared to the giant of Mainland China.
- It is a world leader in chip manufacturing.
Put all that together, and on the one hand it would seem so easy for China to invade. But threatening the world’s supply of chips could have consequences such that no one could foresee where it would end.
I am reminded of Subi The Volcano, by Burt Cole, with American forces fighting a war in a country not unlike China.
Nicaragua severed relations because it again has a Leftist Government in power, and the last time the Leftists were in power they made a promise to change allegiance. Then it was ousted and the Rightist Government reversed the decision. Then the Leftists got in again. So now that the Leftists are in power, the severance of diplomatic ties will not have come as a surprise.
Yet it must have caught Taiwan somewhat by surprise because the Taiwanese ‘sold’ their diplomatic buildings to the Church in a hurry at the last moment, for a token amount. The Nicaraguan Government has overturned the sale, and presumably mainland China will just walk in and take over the buildings. What could the Church do? What power does it have to oppose this? Maybe none.