US presidential election: China, Donald Trump and red lines on Taiwan

US presidential election: China, Donald Trump and red lines on Taiwan

  • The Trump administration has shown increasing support for Taiwan in the race for the White House, actions that Beijing has branded as provocations
  • While the prospect of armed conflict is not high, the possibility of ‘peaceful reunification’ is waning, analysts say

For Beijing, there is one very clear red line on Taiwan.

If the self-ruled island moves towards independence, Beijing has said that it would be justified in “reunifying” Taiwan with the mainland by force, a position it spelt out 15 years ago in its Anti-Secession Law.

In Beijing, the island’s sovereignty is a “core interest” and priority issue – more important than any other matters.

Despite dramatic lows and opposing stands in their relationship, both sides of the Taiwan Strait have so far managed to avoid crossing that line and engaging in a direct confrontation.

But in the last few months, in the lead-up to the US presidential election, Washington has tried to capitalise on anti-China sentiment by offering strong support for the island.

Beijing has branded the actions “US provocations” and promised to defend its claim on the island.