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Yesterday, China sent a warship from the mainland towards Taiwan, just off its east coast, a region which it claims as its own, but for whom is an independent state. The newest move was intended so that the ship could join in with a live fire drill in the South China Sea – one of the most contested regions in the world. Beijing’s announcement came a day after the US navy confirmed a strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan was also carrying out military manoeuvres in the area.
Footage released by the People’s Liberation Army showed the Hong Kong-based warship, the Huizhou, firing cannons and torpedoes, and in recent months many have attempted to draw parallels between the events in Hong Kong as being indicative of things to come in Taiwan.
While the Taiwanese government claims independence as the official Republic of China, the mainland and the Communist Party of China (CCP) insists that Taiwan is governable by Beijing.
Efforts to consolidate the mainland with Taiwan have proved more difficult in recent years, however, as the island nation has enjoyed renewed support from US President Donald Trump.
Shortly after his election victory in 2016, Mr Trump immediately called Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, a move that many warned would damage diplomatic ties with China.
Mr Trump is now under 100 days away from learning whether he will serve a second term as president, with the Democrats’ Joe Biden hot on his heels.
Myriad things will change should Mr Biden win the election, including the platform Taiwan has enjoyed under Mr Trump’s governance, Sean King, senior vice-president of Park Strategies in New York and an affiliated scholar at University of Notre Dame’s Liu Institute, told Express.co.uk.
Mr King reasoned that it would be difficult for Taiwan to benefit from Mr Biden in the way it has from Mr Trump, leaving the door open for further Chinese aggression or even an invasion.
He explained that this partly rested with it being unclear whether Mr Biden would be as “in your face with Xi Jinping” as has the current president.
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Mr King said: “I’m certain Biden would not be as strong as Trump in Taiwan.
“Since the US derecognised Taipei (Taiwan’s capital) in 1979 for Beijing for whatever reasons, there has been no stronger US president for Taiwan than Donald Trump.
“Should Biden win in November, Taiwan will probably be a little less confident in their rhetoric against China.
“But Taiwan’s current government has played it cool and calm.
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“They haven’t overplayed Trump’s support and would take anything in stride.
“I think they’d take it in their stride and try and work with Biden as best they can – but certainly they might feel a little less secure under Biden than under Trump.”
One of Xi Jinping’s main goals over the next 30 years is to manoeuvre China’s reunification to its current lost regions, such as Tibet and Taiwan, with Hong Kong already having been reclaimed.
He has set his administration the goal of securing unification with Taiwan by 2049.
As recently as this month, Mr Trump sent members of his own cabinet to Taiwan in order to strengthen ties.
Last week, US health chief Alex Azar visited the island nation and offered the president’s full support after China sent fighter jets to Taiwan in a bid to reportedly intimidate the country.
Mr Azar had landed in Taiwan the previous day, with China immediately condemning the visit.
Promising unspecified retaliation to Mr Azar’s trip, China flew J-11 and J-10 fighter aircraft briefly onto Taiwan’s side of the sensitive and narrow strait which separates it from its mainland neighbour this morning.
Despite Mr King’s warning that Taiwan may not enjoy the same amount of support under Mr Biden, the Democrat nominee has underpinned his solidarity with Taiwan.
Earlier this year, he personally congratulated Ms Tsai on her victory in the presidential elections.
Many interpreted this as a direct legitimisation from Mr Biden of Taiwan’s government.
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