The One China policy reflects the Chinese government’s commitment that there is only one Chinese government on this planet. This policy strictly defines that any country which is going to have official diplomatic relations with China must have to break its relations with Taiwan, otherwise China would break ties with that country.
But the question arises, why does China want other countries to leave Taiwan in diplomatic isolation? And what is the role of the US in all of this? Well, it takes us back to the Chinese Civil War era which was one of the worst part of Chinese history, when economic downfall, hunger, murders, smuggling and political unrest was part of the Chinese society.
The Chinese Civil War, When Everything Started
Back in the 1920s, China had two major political parties: the Communist Party and the Nationalists, and it was the ROC (Republic of China) with Nationalists at it’s head ruling China. It consisted of Mainland China (today’s People Republic of China), Taiwan and some part of Mongolia. It was an era of economic crisis and political instability because of Warlords making China much weaker and disintegrated.
Things got even worse in 1927, when on April 12th, the violent incident of known as the ‘Shanghai Massacre’ took place, during which military forces of Chiang Kai-Shek (ROC’s leader) crushed Communist organizations to prolong its rule and destroy everything that could be a threat to their power. During this civil war, Japan invaded China in 1937 and made it even more frail than before.
Observing the situation, the Communist party’s leader Mao decided to go for a separate China (People’s Republic of China) right after the communists conquered Beijing. It was truly an uprising and the nationalist government could not bear it. Consequently, fights between Communist and Nationalist groups began to occur. The United States jumped into it to broker the negotiations between Nationalist Leader Jiang-Jieshi and Mao Zedong. It looked like this matter was going to be resolved peacefully, but behind the scene both leaders were reuniting their militant groups to conquer each other and the U.S was making money by providing arms and weapons to the Nationalists army. Russia also took advantage of the conditions and started to train the Communists army.
Taiwan: Result of the Civil War
Civilians were getting killed in this political war of Communists and Nationalists. In 1947, the Communist Red Army laid siege to Changchun for 150 days and planned to starve out the Nationalists army inside the city, but it resulted in the death of over 160,000 civilians due to hunger along the Nationalists army. The Chinese nation was suffering a lot due to this political discontent. Nearly six million people were killed between 1927 and 1949. On October 10th, 1949, Mao declared the foundation of People’s Republic of China. Jieshi left for Taiwan along with his army and supporters to establish the Republic of China’s government in Taiwan.
Taiwan got a lot of economic and defensive support from the United States. The U.S provided Taiwanese government with weapons to defend themselves against the PRC (People’s Republic of China).
China’s View of Taiwan and Taiwan’s Diplomatic Relations
Taiwan has been a victim of diplomatic isolation from the day the People’s Republic of China came into existence. Many countries before 1949 had relations with the Republic of China and later on until the 1960s. With the passage of time, countries recognizing Taiwan broke the socials, economic and diplomatic relations with Taiwan leaving it all alone. There are now only 21 countries in this world recognizing Taiwan as an ‘Independent Sovereign State’. No country in Asia recognizes the ROC now.
On the other hand, China’s policy considers Taiwan as a part of People’s Republic of China which will be reunified one day.
The USA’s Standpoint
As China is the world’s fastest growing economy, therefore every country wants trade, mutual cooperation and economic ties with China. The One China policy has been in favor of the Beijing government, consequently weakening Taiwan.
The United States has been in close relations with Taiwan since the civil war by helping out the Taiwanese government and people in social, economic and political aspects.
The USA and the One China Policy
After taking charge of the U.S Presidency, Donald Trump seems to establish bridges between the U.S and the ROC (Taiwan) by completely denying the One China policy. On the other hand, the People’s Republic of China is clear about their standpoint that there is no valid exception to deny One China. So, China is ready to break any relational ties with the country who is going to establish bridges with Taiwan.
China has been one of the most powerful country in Asia for the past decade due to its commitment to economic growth and prosperity and to deliver the best they can to its 1.35 billion population. For this purpose, China is doing its best to make its defense strong by making artificial Islands in South East China Sea along arranging mutual military exercises with its friend countries to minimize the trade of other countries in the Eastern China region. Besides, China is using CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) to take control of Western Asia’s economy. It has completely cut off the Indian and American hegemony in the region, and establishing relations with Taiwan will completely root out American hegemony in Asia because there are only few countries supporting Taiwan.
So, will China allow the U.S to reject One China? The answer is definitely no. Because China has covered all its bases and is now probably strong enough to make progress with or without the United States. Therefore, the decision is to be made by the White House whether to be with the PRC or the ROC.