Cross-strait relations

Sand dredgers around the Matsu islands. (Internet)

Over 100 mainland Chinese sand dredgers 'surround' Matsu islands

Sand dredgers from mainland China are congregating in the waters off the Taiwanese-controlled Matsu islands with increasing frequency. What does this mean for cross-strait relations? ZB correspondent Woon Wei Jong finds out.
Confetti is seen in front of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen's office building during the National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, 10 October 2020. (Ann Wang/REUTERS)

A 'barbaric act' or 'bogus accusations'? Cross-strait hostilities continue to rise

A celebration of Taiwan’s National Day in Fiji led to a physical altercation between Taiwan and mainland China officials, which in turn has resulted in a fresh escalation of cross-strait hostilities. Zaobao journalist Chuang Hui Liang examines where this might lead.
An attendee holds Taiwan flags during National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, 10 October 2020. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

Why Taiwanese are pro-Japan but anti-China

Deng Qingbo observes that despite sharing the same language and ethnicity as the mainland Chinese, the Taiwanese have been quicker to imbibe Japanese culture than Chinese culture per se. He sees that mainland China has a lot of catching up to do if it is to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese and reclaim some of the admiration it once enjoyed in areas such as civilisational development, culture, and literature.
Soldiers gather in front of Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) fighter jets at Makung Air Force Base in Taiwan's offshore island of Penghu, 22 September 2020. (Yimou Lee/REUTERS)

The only way out for the Taiwan issue

While the current situation in the Taiwan Strait seems to be tense, how likely is it to boil over? Both sides are fully aware that if fighting does break out, other countries are likely to get involved, and the implications are enormous. That is why it is critical first and foremost, to work on finding an enduring political solution. Researcher and commentator Wei Da takes a closer look at the issue.
Flags of the United States and China are placed for a meeting between the U.S. secretary of agriculture and China's minister of agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing, China. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

The biggest challenge in China's diplomacy

US-China strategic competition has had an adverse effect on Indo-Pacific tensions, from issues such as Taiwan, the South China Sea, to China-India border conflicts and China-Australia relations. Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun says China’s international and regional outlook will not improve if this underlying issue is not resolved.
In 1951, the volunteer army surrounded and attacked the US army's elite 1st and 7th infantry divisions. As it was barely one year since the CCP established the PRC, it did not yet have its own defence weapons industry. The troops were using mainly Soviet-made weapons, arms left behind by the Japanese, and US weapons seized from the KMT army. The volunteers in the photo are using Czech-made ZB-26 light machine guns, which were relatively rare among the volunteers due to the lack of matching bullets.

[Photo story] The Korean War: The first large-scale war between China and the US

China and the US fought their first major war against each other during the Korean War. China's ill-equipped volunteer troops suffered huge losses, sacrificing eight lives for every one lost on the US side. Nonetheless, China showed great determination and resilience during the war. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao delves deep into the images and facts of the Korean War, and reflects on how it has shaped modern international geopolitics.
This handout picture taken on 15 July 2020 and released by Taiwan's Defense Ministry shows a warship launching a US-made Harpoon missile during the annual Han Kuang military drill from an unlocated place in the sea near Taiwan. (Handout/Taiwan Defense Ministry/AFP)

The median line of the Taiwan Strait: No longer a boundary for mainland China

Both Taiwan and mainland China have indicated that they would not fire the first shot and would only do so if provoked. Yet signs are increasing that both sides could be stumbling into war. Most recently, the PLA sent its jets over the median line of the Taiwan Strait over three days. Seth Cropsey, director of the Center for American Seapower at Hudson Institute, even offered a date for mainland China to strike. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan takes a closer look at this quagmire.
Students at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, 6 August 2020. (Ann Wang/REUTERS)

Taiwan history textbooks makeover: Eliminating country, people, history and culture?

What is the teaching of Chinese history without recounting the drama of the Three Kingdoms or the antics of concubine Yang Guifei? As Taiwan adjusts its history textbooks and skims over or even leaves out large chunks of China’s history, what exactly is it losing?
Two domestically-made armoured vehicles launch smoke grenades during the annual Han Kuang military drills in Taichung on 16 July 2020. - The military drills aimed to test how the armed forces would repel an invasion from China, which has vowed to bring Taiwan back into the fold — by force if necessary. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Chinese academic: A ‘reunification by force’ would be Taiwan's last

Chinese academic Shen Jinhao says that when it comes to Taiwan, the mainland will not start a fight it is not ready to finish. If it launches a “reunification by force”, Taiwan would be subdued in one fell swoop, even before the US has a chance to make a meaningful intervention.