See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

China’s increasing pressure puts Taiwan on the backfoot

Increased pressure from Beijing has countries and businesses slowly disassociating themselves from Taiwan.


Written by

Updated: August 21, 2018

In 1971, the United Nations recognized the communist government in Beijing as the ruling party of China. It is remarkable because, since 1949, the UN had chosen to recognize the exiled nationalist government in Taiwan as the de-facto ruler of all of China.

It is a slight that Beijing has not forgotten or forgiven and an issue that they have spent the last five decades rectifying. Beijing continues to assert that Taiwan is a renegade province of China and that any declaration of independence would be met with diplomatic force and potential military action.

The election of Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan, and her stance that Taiwan was already nominally independent, has irked Beijing.

Beijing has over the past three years exerted greater pressures on businesses and countries around the world to cool relations with the government in Taipei.

According to an editorial in the state-run China Daily:

Thanks to Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus, cross-Straits relations have deteriorated over the past two years. And due to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s consistently “pro-independence” stance and Tsai’s flexible approach to “de-Sinicization”, such as downgrading of Chinese history in textbooks of senior high school, the mainland has lost trust in the island’s leadership.

Another editorial in the same paper states:

The mainland stands firm in its cross-Straits policy to curb “Taiwan independence” moves, although it has issued 31 preferential policies for the benefit of Taiwan compatriots and to attract them to the mainland to seek better opportunities. Also, the supply of freshwater from Fujian to Kinmen island shows the mainland is only against the “pro-independence” moves of the Taiwan authorities, not Taiwan compatriots as a whole.

Economic Moves:

Earlier this year, China demanded that airlines no longer refer to Taiwan as a non-Chinese territory or face economic repercussions. With a billion strong customer base, the threats were not seen as empty. July 25 was set as a deadline and US airlines such as American Airlines, Delta and United were targeted. The US-based airlines eventually accommodated Beijing’s request joining the likes of Australia’s Qantas, Air Canada and Air India.

The airlines debacle was the latest in a series of moves by the government in Beijing to force business to acquiesce to its foreign policy objectives. The Marriot hotel group had to apologize to Beijing earlier this year when it referred to Taiwan and Tibet as separate entities – a move which saw Beijing ban Marriot websites from the country for a week.

Political Pressure

But if the economic pressure is significant, it pales in comparison to the diplomatic pressure that Beijing is placing on countries around the world to stop recognizing Taiwan.

In 2018 alone, the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan at Beijing’s insistence. As it stands, only a handful of countries in Central America, the Vatican and a few island nations in the Pacific recognize the Republic of China’s government in Taipei.

Many have acquiesced to Beijing’s demand with an eye to Chinese funds and expertise. China’s Belt and Road Initiative has promised massive infrastructure development in some of the world’s most in-need areas. Chinese capitals, Chinese goods and the promise of a Chinse consumer base seem to be enough for most countries to go along with Beijing’s foreign policy.

Taiwanese Response 

President Tsai has faced increasing pressure from within Taiwan to respond to Chinese aggression.  Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung said last month that the world’s attention must be drawn to China “ubiquitous suppression” of Taiwan, as evidenced by the revocation of his city’s rights to host a regional sports event.

“If we don’t speak up, our voices won’t be heard in the international community,” Lin said. “Even if the decision cannot be changed, we need to get more people to understand the truth.”

Lin made the appeal at an international press conference in Taipei after lodging a formal complaint earlier in the day with the East Asian Olympic Committee (EAOC) over its recent decision to cancel the East Asian Youth Games in Taichung.

In response to the voices within Taiwan, Tsai has embarked on a goodwill tour of the Central American countries that have stood by Taiwan. On Friday, Tsai thanked the government of Belize for “speaking for the rights of Taiwan as a member of the international community.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

S. Korea, Japan to hold working-level talks

The two countries have not pursued diplomacy since a high level talk failed earlier this month. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that an official handling Asia-Pacific affairs will visit Japan to meet his counterpart amid mounting tensions between the two countries. Kim Jung-han, director general for Asian and Pacific Affairs at Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, will meet Shigeki Takizaki to discuss matters of mutual interest, the ministry said in a press release. This is Kim’s first one-on-one meeting with Takizaki, who replaced Kenji Kanasugi as head of Japan’s Foreign Ministry’s Southeast and Southwest Asian affairs departmen


By The Korea Herald
September 20, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

PM Imran expresses Pakistan’s resolve to stand with Saudi Arabia in face of threat to security

Saudi Arabia say they were attacked by Iranian drones. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and expressed Pakistan’s resolve to stand with Saudi Arabia “in the event of a threat to its sanctity and security”, a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said. The premier condemned the recent drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities and assured King Salman of Pakistan’s continued support to the Kingdom. According to the PMO statement, Prime Minister Imran also briefed King Salman on the current situation in occupied Kashmir. “King Salman reiterated the Kingdom’s solidarity and long-held support on the Kashmir issue,” said the statement. The two leaders discussed relations between the two countries as well as the regional and global political situation. They also talked about other matt


By Dawn
September 20, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

China demands US drop bill on HK

China has accused the United States of meddling in the past. China on Thursday demanded the United States stop advancing a Hong Kong-related bill and its interference in Hong Kong affairs on Thursday, after US lawmakers held a news conference to back the bill. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan group of members of Congress held the media event on the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019”. Hong Kong separatists, including Joshua Wong Chifung and Denise Ho Wan-see, attended the event. China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposed to the move, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday. Pelosi and other US politicians “failed to distinguish right from wrong” despite China repeatedly expressing its solemn stance over US meddling in Hong Kong affairs, Geng said. They were “brutally interfering in China


By China Daily
September 20, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Pakistan denies India’s request for use of airspace by Modi for flight to Germany

The latest in a series of escalating diplomatic tit-for-tats. The government on Wednesday announced its decision not to grant India’s request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use Pakistani airspace for his flight to Germany. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the decision has been made “keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir”. “A request was received from India saying that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to use Pakistani airspace for an overflight on the 20th to Germany and wishes to use the same for a return flight on the 28th,” said the foreign minister in a video statement. “Keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir and India’s attitude witnessed in the tyranny and oppression [suffered by Kashmiris] and the violations of rights in the region, we have decided not to grant this request,” he said.


By Dawn
September 19, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Challenges loom for Asia’s digital landscape

An overview of digital strategies across Asia in light of the first ever annual Digital Economy Report released by UNCTAD last week. Last week, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released its first ever annual Digital Economy Report (2019). It came at a time when countries across Asia have been grappling with a complex digital future. Digital technologies help cut costs, enable delivery of services without leakages, reduce opportunities for graft, promote ease of doing business, leverage an increasingly non-tactile world, grow economies, have the potential to create millions of new jobs and, it appears, even help fight fake news. On the flip side, there are concerns of the cost of the emerging digital economy in terms of loss of traditional employment sectors, eroding the right to privacy, abetting authoritarian state-control of citizens’ lives, causing a s


By Ishan Joshi
September 19, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Pakistan strongly condemns India’s remarks about ‘having control’ of AJK one day

The remarks were made by India’s foreign minister. India’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that Azad Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India and that he expected New Delhi to gain physical control over it one day, raising the rhetoric over the territorial dispute. In response, Pakistan strongly condemned and rejected “the inflammatory and irresponsible remarks made by the Indian External Affairs Minister regarding Pakistan and AJK”, according to a statement by the Foreign Office. The statement also called upon the international community to take note of the “aggressive posturing”. India claims the heavily populated Kashmir Valley while Pakistan has a wedge of territory in the west of the disputed region — Azad Jammu and Kashmir. “Our position on [Azad Kashmir] is, has always been and will always be very clear. [Azad Kashmir] is part of India and we expec


By Dawn
September 18, 2019