Taiwan Conflict: The world on a verge of war between the US and China

Ata-ul-Haye Nasir, Al Hakam
Map of Taiwan

On 2 August 2022, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives landed in Taiwan on the highest-level visit by a US official for decades, defying Chinese threats of a military response. The trip has become a test of how far Beijing will go to deter foreign support for Taiwan. (Financial Times, 2 August 2022, “Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taiwan as China ratchets up military activity”)

Reuters reported:

“Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday before her arrival, as China’s leadership warned against the visit by Pelosi”, and “several Chinese warships have also sailed near the unofficial dividing line since Monday and remained there.”

Moreover, “Four US warships, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, were positioned in waters east of Taiwan on what the US Navy called routine deployments. The carrier had transited the South China Sea and was now in the Philippines Sea, east of Taiwan and the Philippines and south of Japan, a US Navy official told Reuters.” (Reuters, 2 August 2022, “US House Speaker Pelosi lands in Taiwan; Chinese warplanes take to skies”)

Upon her arrival, she tweeted:

“America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever”, and that her visit “in no way contradicts long-standing United States policy.” She added that “the United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo.”

China has warned that the United States will “pay the price for undermining China’s sovereignty and security interest.” (Al Jazeera, 2 August 2022, “Russia accuses US of ‘destabilisation’ over Pelosi Taiwan trip”)

Moreover, the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also issued a statement and accused the US of undermining global security. She said:

“Washington is bringing destabilisation to the world. Not a single settled conflict in recent decades, but many provoked ones.” (Ibid)

The conflict between China and Taiwan dates back to the civil war between the nationalist government forces led by Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong’s Communist Party. The communists won the civil war and therefore, Mao founded the People’s Republic of China. Chiang Kai-shek and what was left of the nationalist party – Kuomintang – fled to Taiwan, where they ruled for the next several decades. China still considers Taiwan a part of its territory and aims to unify it with the mainland.

The fears of a US-China war over this issue had been expressed in the past.

Mercy Kuo, an author from The Diplomat, had a conversation with Karen-Anna Eggen, a PhD fellow at the Norwegian Institute of Defence Studies. While answering a question, Karen-Anna Eggen said:

“Both Ukraine and Taiwan are small powers grappling with a persistent, and recently growing, threat posed by greater powers, in this case, Russia and China, who both believe these states are rightful parts of their territory or at least sphere of influence in the case of Ukraine. This takes place in a context of heightened global tensions and great power rivalry. The U.S. is a part of both conflicts, although it has not extended the same security guarantees to Ukraine as to Taiwan.” (The Diplomat, 4 January 2022, “Russia-Ukraine Tensions: Signals to China – Insights from Karen-Anna Eggen”)

While expressing a fear of China’s surprise attack over Taiwan, the Daily Mail stated:

“China could carry out a surprise attack on Taiwan by turning military drills near the island into a genuine invasion, Taipei’s defence ministry has warned in a new report.” (Daily Mail, 13 December 2021, “China could carry out a surprise attack on Taiwan by turning drills near the island into a genuine invasion, Taipei fears”)

The Chinese state media reported that Beijing had deployed more than 100 planes, including fighter jets and bombers, and over 10 warships in its biggest drills in the Taiwan strait. Whereas, the Japanese Defence Ministry claimed on 4 August that China had fired missiles over mainland Taiwan, marking a serious escalation of military threats to the self-ruled island. (The Telegraph, 4 August 2022, “China fires missiles ‘over mainland Taiwan’ in serious escalation of military threats”, www.telegraph.co.uk)

On 5 August, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said that 10 Chinese vessels and 20 aircrafts had crossed the Taiwan Strait median line on Friday morning. In response, Taiwan’s navy ships are staying close to monitor Chinese navy activities, the source added. (BBC website, accessed 5 August 2022, www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-asia-62404233)

The situation is intensifying with each passing day and the world is clearly on verge of a huge catastrophe. The Guardian reported:

“China’s military has announced new drills near Taiwan, including anti-submarine attack and sea raid operations, a day after its major live-fire exercises targeting the territory were supposed to end”, and “at a press briefing on Monday, a Taiwan defence ministry spokesperson said it was monitoring the situation.” (The Guardian, 8 August 2022, “China to resume military drills off Taiwan after shelving US talks”)

Michael Chang, who managed the 1996 Taiwan missile crisis when he was deputy secretary general of Taiwan’s National Security Council, told the local media that the drills could be a preview of a Chinese invasion scenario. (Independent, 8 August 2022, “Could China-Taiwan conflict escalate to a full blown military crisis?”)

rsz 1815 thomson map of china and formosa taiwan geographicus china t 15 5cc779
1815 Thomson Map of China and Formosa (Taiwan) | Picryl

World leaders need to realise that this is one of the most decisive moments in modern history. In fact, it is the make or break moment for not only the contemporary world but also for future generations. They must learn lessons from the past, and stay firm on their recent pledge, where five of the world’s most powerful nations – the US, Russia, China, the UK and France – had agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”. (The Guardian, 3 January 2022, “Five of world’s most powerful nations pledge to avoid nuclear war”)

If they fail to remain loyal to this pledge, the world could face huge devastation, about which Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, Khalifatul Masih V had been warning the world for the past two decades.

History bears witness that aggressive wars only leave behind huge destruction and miseries.

On 23 November 2015, while addressing a special reception held at the Hilton Hotel in Odaiba, Tokyo, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa said:

“We are living in extremely precarious and dangerous times, in which the state of the world is a cause of huge concern. Conflict and disorder are consuming the world and threatening international peace and security. […] In Eastern Europe, hostilities between Russia and Ukraine and other European countries are continuing to flare. Furthermore, recently there has been heightened tension between the United States and China regarding the incursion of an American warship into the South China Sea. […]

“The world is now becoming engulfed by violence and disorder. In the modern world, the scope of warfare is much more vast than in previous eras. Conflicts in one part of the world do not remain limited or local, rather their effects and consequences spread much further afield. […] For many years, I have been warning that the world should realise that the effects of a war in one region can and will affect the peace and harmony of other parts of the world. […]

“Now it is not just the major powers that have nuclear bombs, but even a number of smaller countries possess them. Whilst perhaps the major powers keep such weapons as a deterrent, there is no guarantee that the smaller countries will show such restraint. We cannot take it for granted that they will never use nuclear weapons. Thus, it is clear that the world stands on the brink of disaster.” (World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace, pp. 189-191)

May Allah enable the world leaders to pay heed to the most sincere advice and guidance given by the Ahmadiyya Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa. Amin.

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