Taiwan to China: We Were Always Independent

China and Taiwan held a war of words recently after Beijing this Wednesday warned the island nation that it would “reap the consequences” of seeking legitimate independence.

Taiwan’s government roared back saying it belonged to a sovereign nation and nothing China’s leaders say could ever change that. Officials said the Republic of China, the islands former name, was an independent country with territory spanning Taiwan, a few offshore islands close to China, and even some in the South China Sea — a region with islands several nations lay claim to, but where China calls the lion’s share and builds its military.

In the eyes of Beijing, Taiwan is still a rogue province of China. And full military force has never been taken off the table as an option for reunification. Chinese-Taiwanese relations seem even more dire under the leadership of independence-leaning president Tsai Ing-wen. Even though part of her voter base was driven sharply by calls for independence, she has publicly stated she hopes to maintain peace with China.

Beijing, however, made it clear this peace could erode any moment.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said:  “Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory, has never been a country and can never become a country.

“The mainland side resolutely opposes any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ words or action, and will never allow the historical tragedy of national separation to repeat itself. The consequences will be reaped for engaging in Taiwan independence separatist.”

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.