THE EXASPERATION OVER SINO-US TENSIONS IN LIEU OF TERRITORIAL INDEPENDENCE OF TAIWAN
Author: Praneel Panchagavi, II Year of B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) From Symbiosis Law School, Pune.
The tensions between the US and China have been high for the past few years, and now the international relations between the two are at an all time low. Both countries have been engaged in confrontations over various issues such as trade, Beijing’s military presence in the South China Sea, violation of human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang region, etc. In October 2021, China’s President Xi Jinping was at the UN conference for Beijing's 50th anniversary as the permanent member of the UN Security Council. During his speech, he indirectly attacked the U.S. by saying that “all countries should observe the UN at its core without any exceptions and the global rules cannot be written by individual countries”. The US has been trying to help Taiwan play a more prominent role in the international forums and protect its democratic government in Taipei. Whereas, China doesn’t want the US to interfere in its internal matters because it views Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be brought under Beijing’s control.
The disputes between the US and China have emerged mainly after a trade war during the Trump administration. It further developed when Beijing increased the military pressure on Taiwan which the U.S. opposed. The current US president, Joe Biden stated that the US is committed to defending the democratic government in Taipei against any Chinese attacks. The tensions regarding Taiwan were recently brought up in the meeting between the diplomats from the U.S. State Department and the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting was held to discuss Taipei’s active participation in the UN and other international forums. The State Department stated that Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN would contribute to addressing various global challenges such as environmental problems, global public health, climate change, etc. Contrary to that statement, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Wenbin said that “Taiwan’s participation in international activities must be handled according to the one-China principle”. The statement made by Wang Wenbin made it clear that both Beijing and Taiwan belong to China and should be controlled by one government. According to his views, China views Taiwan as the underdog whose attempts at boosting its influence in the world are bound to fail, so the U.S. should avoid any intervention that would disrupt the peace and stability in the Taiwan region.
Recently, the U.S. State Department has brought up the issue that China has been misusing the UN Resolution 2758, which recognizes Beijing as the true representative to the UN instead of Taipei. They believe that it is being done to stop Taiwan from participating in any big organizations. China’s actions with the Taiwan issue can be considered as “serious political provocation” and distortion of international law and norms governing all international relations that are universally recognized. The U.S. president Joe Biden has pledged to protect Taiwan and its democracy. He has also stated that “the U.S. will uphold its commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to support Taiwan’s self-defense and oppose unilateral changes in the status quo”. In response to that, in his speech at the UN, Xi Jinping said that China has always pursued an independent foreign policy of peace, upheld justice, and resolutely opposed hegemonic and power politics”. His statement indirectly was an attack on the U.S. and the actions it was taking. He also vowed that the country would continue its peaceful development, and nations should work together in addressing global issues like climate change, cybersecurity, terrorism, etc. According to Xi Jinping, the effective way of dealing with those issues is only through “more inclusive global governance, multilateral mechanisms, and more active regional cooperation”.
As an active member of the International Cell, I would collaborate with other members to discuss this issue in the Deliberation Forum since it has major legal significance and deals with international laws. If possible, I would also try to organize a debate on whether the actions being taken by both countries are justifiable and who is more likely to succeed. I would also try to reach out to various faculty members to gain their insight on the issue and invite some guest lecturer who has expertise in international law to discuss the issue. As part of a guest invitation, it would also be my duty to take care of them and their needs. I would love to be part of the Symbiosis Law School Pune Model United Nations Conference as I didn’t have any opportunity in the past to participate and experience it. There could be various other activities organized on this topic as well because the issue holds a global relevance as it sets the international laws pertaining to human rights, control of a nation, democracy, and various other essential aspects.
In conclusion, the Taiwan issue concerning the U.S. and China has set up an example for countries' intervention in domestic affairs and regulations of others in the contemporary world. In order to bring peace around the world, peace among the nations and its citizens is essential. Though the UN is set up to resolve issues and bring international peace, issues like these keep arising, and no significant step is being taken as the countries involved in the issue are the core permanent members of the Council themselves. The decision on whether Taiwan should be an independent nation or part of China should be left to the country itself and not influenced by any intervention from other countries. If each country is allowed to function independently and given equal opportunity to represent itself around the world, such as in the UN, it would be a huge step in bringing peace across the globe as they would be able to voice their opinions. However, mostly the powerful nations overshadow the other small ones and try to get involved in their internal matters, which results in disruption in those small nations/countries.