UH OH – Punishment Drills BEGIN at Sea!

The relationship between China and Taiwan continues to decay. While the two countries continue to trade, all formal communication channels between Taipei and Beijing have broken down, even as most of the world formally recognizes Beijing’s totalitarian government as legitimate, but not Taiwan’s constitutional republic. Now, China is conducting even more threatening exercises in the waters around Taiwan.

According to geopolitical analysts, Beijing’s claims to supremacy over Taiwan have grown louder and ore strident under the leadership of Xi Jinping. Xi has repeatedly stated that the conquest of Taiwan—what he calls “reunification”—will happen. His most recent statement to that effect came just before Taiwan’s recent elections in December.

To date, China’s military actions have stayed solidly in the “grey zone”—not so overt as to commit them to conflict, but not so benign as to appear routine. The intimidation factor in its naval maneuvers has ramped up over the past several years. Analysts consulted by the BBC said that these tactics are aimed at wearing down Taiwan’s readiness and resolve.

The simmering tension between the two countries date back to the Maoist revolution, when the Chinese Communists drove the post-Imperial Republican government out of Beijing, and across the South China Sea to Taiwan. This Government-in-Exile set itself up in Taiwan—which calls itself “China”—and considers itself the only legitimate authority over all of China.

The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, sees Taiwan as a breakaway province in open rebellion against its proper authority.

Since the Nixon-brokered rapprochement between China and the West in the 1970s, Western powers have been compelled to formally ignore Taiwan’s independent existence as the price for doing business with China. This lack of formal recognition disadvantages Taiwan on the international scene, locking it out of various international diplomatic bodies. Nonetheless, it maintains informal and semi-formal alliances and trade arrangements with most countries in the Western sphere of influence, especially with the United States, which needs several of its products to maintain its military readiness.