Taiwan-China relations are tense, democracy is Taiwan’s foothold: Time Magazine

China is increasing efforts to isolate Taiwan at a time of growing global uncertainty

Monument to Liu Xiaobo in Taipei.

Monument to Liu Xiaobo in Taipei. (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – U.S. weekly magazine "Time" says that Taiwan-China relations are tense with China increasing efforts to isolate Taiwan, but Taiwan's democracy is its foothold.

Following the unveiling of a memorial monument dedicated to the Chinese political dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) last week, Time published a comprehensive report on the current state of Taiwan-China relations.

Time says the unveiling of the monument comes as a time when China is ratcheting up efforts to increase pressure on Taiwan and when tensions are ratcheting up in the trade war now underway between China and the U.S.

China has become increasingly aggressive to Taiwan, since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was elected on 16 January 2016.

"Beijing probably wants to remind the Taiwanese public that they are paying a price for supporting Tsai and her party," Richard C. Bush, former Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) told Time.

As part of this, China launched its largest ever live-fire military drill on June 4, 2018, in what is seen by many as posturing from Beijing to the U.S. after President Trump's actions to Taiwan.

Observers note that Trump has broken with protocol of recent U.S. administrations by accepting a congratulatory phone call from Tsai, an by signign the Taiwan Travel Act. The new AIT office which opened on his watch has also caused concern for Beijing and some in Washington as well.

"No one really expected the level of interference that Trump had. He broke all of the rules that have been set down with China-Taiwan relations," Sheryn Lee, academic at Australia's Macquarie University told Time.

Meanwhile, concerns over the severity of the trade war between China and the U.S. is adding another dimension to Taiwan-China relations, according to Time, at a time when China is increasing its efforts to isolate Taiwan.

Since Tsai entered the presidential office, China has enticed four countries to swap diplomatic allegiances to China and has demanded companies and airlines to subscribe to its so called "one China" principle.

At the unveiling of the monument to Liu Xiaobo in Taipei, Chinese dissident Wu'er Kaixi said that Taiwanese society in many ways resembles the kind of society that Liu Xiaobo dreamed of.