The Business Monitor International has issued a new research report that reveals an attempt by Beijing to slowly integrate the Republic of China (Taiwan) into the People’s Republic of China. By further expanding economic ties, the report concluded that Taiwan will eventually become dependent on China to the point where they will be forced to comply with Chinese demands. However, there does remain substantial Taiwanese opposition to any formal agreement solidifying ties between the two nations. Interaction between China and Taiwan increased since the 2008 election of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou who has been more open with the Chinese government – but reunification remains unlikely.
Militarily, China holds an overwhelming advantage over Taiwan. Currently, there are more than 1,000 Chinese ballistic missiles pointed at Taiwan and a large navy and air force that could cripple the island’s defenses. In an attempt to even the playing field, Taiwan has made significant purchases of advanced US military technology which would greatly hinder China’s attempt to seize the island by force. Even still, Taiwan’s defense strategy is essentially to be able to hold off Chinese attacks long enough for the US military to come to their aid.
The US has been a longtime political ally of Taiwan and views it as a place to counter a growing Chinese presence in the region. In the future, Washington will need to walk a fine line between upsetting China over Taiwanese arms sales and supplying the military hardware Taiwan needs.