Tensions remained high amid series of tit-for-tat Chinese-American military manoeuvres close to Taiwan, and govt’s relations remained strained with World Health Organization (WHO) and lack of membership in face of COVID-19 concerns. Chinese aircrafts – J-11 fighters, H-6 bomber, and KJ-500 surveillance aircraft – 10 April conducted drills near south of Taiwan and flew through Bashi Channel, body of water separating Taiwan from Philippines; later that day U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flew over area, while U.S. warship sailed through Taiwan Strait. U.S. reconnaissance aircraft 11-12 April flew over waters south of Taiwan. Defence Ministry reported Chinese naval flotilla including Liaoning aircraft carrier 12 April passed eastern and southern coasts of Taiwan to carry out drills, having passed through Miyako Strait in East China Sea previous day (see China/Japan); Taiwanese navy scrambled ships to monitor situation. Amid continued tensions over Beijing’s apparent blocking of Taipei from accessing information from WHO as it is not a member, organisation’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian health and Foreign Minister, 8 April said he had received personal abuse and death threats that originated from Taiwan, alleging foreign ministry “didn’t disassociate themselves [from the abuse]”; foreign ministry next day released statement expressing “profound regret and strong protest regarding the false accusations”.
After drifting toward crisis for much of 2004, the outlook for stability across the Taiwan Strait has improved.
Each side’s most preferred solution for resolving the continuing Taiwan Strait issue – in the case of Taipei, widely recognised de jure independence; and in the case of Beijing, reunification of China on the same ‘one country, two systems’ basis as Hong Kong – are both non-starters.
Apparently irreconcilable positions on the ‘one China’ principle have emerged between China and Taiwan over the last decade, with Taiwan for some time now asserting not only that it is a separate political entity but an independent sovereign country.
China's underlying position on its cross-Strait relations, however strong its current commitment to peaceful diplomacy, is that Taiwan must make sustained, visible progress toward a peaceful settlement or risk a resort to armed hostilities.
In the last decade, Taiwan has moved slowly but surely away from its commitment to the idea of ‘one China’, the proposition, long agreed on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, that Taiwan and the mainland are parts of one country.