The Taiwan Strait, Post-Pelosi
China has been weaving a perilous web for Taiwan with its military ‘joint defence,’ which is apparently just an unprecedented military drill that has built a blockade around Taiwan from six different directions. The exercise, which was orchestrated and put up immediately after U.S House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit, can only be interpreted as retaliation, as Pelosi told Taiwan that the U.S would not desert Taiwan in the event of a Chinese assault and would stay by it. However, is it fair to say that the status quo was upended post-Pelosi? It should be emphasised that this was not China's first foray into the Taiwan Strait. It has happened in the past too.
The First Taiwan Strait Crisis can be traced back to August 1954, when the Nationalists stationed hundreds of troops on the small islands of Kinmen and Matsu, which were governed by Taiwan and were only a few miles from the mainland. Communist China responded by shelling the islands with artillery and effectively conquering the Yijiangshan Islands, around 400 kilometres north of Taipei. Although the problem was eventually resolved, it nearly led to a direct conflict between China and the United States. Fighting erupted once more in 1958 when Mao's forces launched a fierce bombardment on Kinmen and Matsu in an effort to drive out Nationalist soldiers there. In 1995, tensions flared up again when China started conducting missile tests in the vicinity of Taiwan in response to Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui's visit to his alma mater university in the United States.
Speaker of the U.S. House Of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), left, poses for photographs with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, right, at the president's office on August 03, 2022, in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo by Handout/Getty Images