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Mahesh Belavi asked: How is Taiwan geo-strategically important to China?

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  • Raviprasad Narayanan replies: Taiwan is geo-strategically located with the South China Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other side. As a geo-political asset, the control of Taiwan will give China access to the broad sweep of the Pacific and the littoral. The Pacific Ocean is known for being the backwater of the United States. Japan being quiescent and defensive about its past suits China most. Taiwan as part of China - if it happens - neutralises the only challenger Beijing faces, the United States, with or without Donald Trump. Beyond geo-strategic are the geo-economic importance provided by Taiwan with its technological superpower status. China’s peccadilloes regarding the South China Sea are not a situation Taiwan wishes to be embroiled in owing to the contested histories on both sides of the Taiwan straits. As the mainland and the Communist Party of China (CPC) look towards 2021 as marking a century of the CPC in power, Taiwan is the only issue left unresolved. To Beijing and Xi Jinping in particular, Taiwan’s separateness is an embarrassment needing closure. Hence, Taiwan is not just a geo-strategically important issue for China but a geo-economic and geo-multiplier in the years to come.

    Dr. Raviprasad Narayanan is Associate Professor at the Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He was earlier Associate Fellow at IDSA.

    Posted on April 18, 2019