Since the election of Tsai Ing-wen as president of Taiwan in 2016, Beijing has increased military and diplomatic pressure on the island, arguing that she rejects Beijing’s claim that the island is Chinese property.
In recent months, Chinese aeroplanes have conducted a very high number of intrusions into Taiwan’s air defence zone, breaking previous records.
Tsai said in her New Year’s address that the Chinese authorities “should take steps to prevent the growth of military adventurism among their ranks.”
Beijing believes Taiwan to be a part of its territory and has said that it would reclaim control of the island one day, using force if necessary.
President Xi Jinping said in his New Year’s speech that “the full reunification of our motherland is a desire shared by people” in both China and Taiwan, and that “the total reunification of our motherland is an aspiration shared by everyone.”
After a record number of Chinese fighter planes entered Taiwan’s air defence zone, the country’s defence ministry issued a warning in October that military tensions with China were at their greatest level in four decades.
Furthermore, Beijing has ramped up its attempts in the last several years to isolate Taiwan on the international scene as well.
Every official proclamation of a “independent” Taiwan by the Chinese government is seen as a provocation by Beijing, which has frequently threatened to impose sanctions on nations that support Taipei’s right to self-determination.
Beijing has urged Taiwan’s diminishing number of diplomatic friends to change their allegiances.
Recent developments include Nicaragua’s recognition of Beijing over Taipei, as well as the opening of China’s embassy in the Central American country on Friday.