Will the Chinese Civil War End with a Bang or with a Whimper? chasfreeman.net

[…] For most Americans, Taiwan has no past.  It is a democratic country that, for some inexplicable reason, the Chinese Communist Party wants to swallow.  We Americans are famously amnesiac.  We have forgotten how differently we portrayed Taiwan in the 1950s and ‘60s.  Back then, we asserted that, despite its defeat on the mainland, the Chinese regime that had retreated to Taiwan was still the lawful government of China, including the mainland and outer Mongolia as well as Taiwan.  And we insisted on the right of the defeated Chinese authorities in Taipei to continue to represent China internationally. […]

In 1979, Beijing normalized relations with Washington.  Without giving up its right to use force against Taipei, it adopted a strategy of peaceful reunification premised on formal undertakings from the United States to sever official relations with Taipei, withdraw U.S. military forces and installations from Taiwan, and annul its previous defense commitment to the island, even as it continued to sell weapons to Taiwan.  In the 1980s, U.S. compliance with these conditions – memorialized in three joint communiqués – incentivized Beijing to pursue a peaceful settlement with Taipei even as it encouraged Taipei to seek a modus vivendi with Beijing. […]

The circumstances that would justify Beijing’s using force against Taiwan are clearly spelled out in Article 8 of the 2005 Chinese Anti-Secession law.  They are:

  1. if “Taiwan independence” forces, under whatever name and method, accomplish the fact of Taiwan’s separation from China,
  2. or if a major event occurs which would lead to Taiwan’s separation from China,
  3. or if all possibility of peaceful unification is lost.

A majority in Beijing believe that changes in Taiwan’s stance, U.S. backing for these, and Washington’s accelerating abandonment of the previously agreed framework for managing the Taiwan issue have now combined to meet these criteria. Läs artikel