Which countries recognise Taiwan?
Taiwan’s status as a diplomatic orphan continues to this day.
Only 14 countries recognise Taiwan as an independent country – Belize, Guatemala, Haiti, the Holy See, Honduras, Eswatini, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Paraguay, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tuvalu.
It also remains shut out of the UN and other international bodies like the World Health Organization.
What is China doing in the seas and skies?
The median line has been an unofficial buffer line between China and Taiwan for decades. Crossing it is sensitive because the Taiwan Strait is only 130-kilometre wide at its thinnest point, and military incursions raise the risks of accidents.
China says it has begun exercises involving warplanes, navy ships and missile strikes in six zones surrounding Taiwan. Those lie as little as 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the island’s coast, potentially infringing on Taiwan’s territorial waters.
Live-fire exercises are a test of a military’s ability to perform missions under conditions most resembling actual warfare.
In this case, they are designed to show the level of force China could unleash against Taiwan if Beijing decided to make good on the pledge to seize control of the island and punish those supporting its independence.
Why is Taiwan’s location important?
In addition to nationalist sentiments, China is loath to let go of Taiwan because the island occupies a key location in the First island chain, a string of Pacific archipelagos stretching from Japan to Borneo, containing China’s influence.
If China gains control of Taiwan, it not only breaks the First island chain but becomes an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” for China, allowing the rising superpower to cement dominance in Asia and aid greatly in power projection.