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Arguments for the Republic of China and/or People's Republic of China sovereignty claims

Today, the ROC is the de facto government of Taiwan; whereas the PRC is the de facto government over Mainland China. However, each government claims to be the legitimate government of all China de jure. The arguments below are frequently used by proponents and/or opponents of these claims.

Arguments common to both the PRC and ROC

The ROC and PRC both officially support the One China policy and thus share common arguments. In the arguments below, "Chinese" is an ambiguous term that could mean the PRC and/or ROC as legal government(s) of China.

  1. The waging of aggressive war by Japan against China in 1937 and beyond violates the peace that was brokered in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. In 1941, with the declaration of war against Japan, the Chinese government declared this treaty void ab initio (never happened in the first place). Therefore, some argue that, with no valid transfer of sovereignty taking place, the sovereignty of Taiwan naturally belongs to China.[51]
  2. The Cairo Declaration of 1 December 1943 was accepted by Japan in its surrender. This document states that Taiwan was to be restored to the Republic of China at the end of World War II. Likewise, the Potsdam Declaration of 26 July 1945, also accepted by Japan, implies that it will no longer have sovereignty over Taiwan by stating that "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands".
  3. The proclamation of Taiwan Retrocession Day on 25 October 1945, by the ROC (when the PRC had not yet been founded) was entirely uncontested. Had another party been sovereign over Taiwan, that party would have had a period of years in which to protest, and its failure to do so represents cession of rights in the manner of prescription. The lack of protest by any non-Chinese government persists to this day, further strengthening this argument.[52]
  4. The exclusion of Chinese governments (both ROC and PRC) in the negotiation process of the San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) nullified any legal binding power of the SFPT on China, including any act of renouncing or disposing of sovereignty. In addition, the fact that neither ROC nor PRC government ever ratified SFPT terms, prescribes that the SFPT is irrelevant to any discussion of Chinese sovereignty.[dubious ]
  5. Even if the SFPT were determinative, it should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the Potsdam and Cairo Declarations, therefore sovereignty would still have been transferred to China.[53]
  6. SFPT's validity has come into question as some of the countries participating in the San Francisco conference, such as the USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia and North and South Korea refused to sign the treaty.[54]
  7. Assuming SFPT is valid in determining the sovereignty over Taiwan, Japan, in the article 2 of the SFPT, renounced all rights, without assigning a recipient, regarding Taiwan. Japan in the same article also renounced, without assigning a recipient, areas which are now internationally recognised as territories of Russia as well as other countries.[dubious ] Given that the sovereignty of these countries over renounced areas are undisputed, the Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan must also be undisputed.[54]

Arguments in support of ROC sovereignty claims

  1. The ROC fulfills all requirements for a state according to the Convention of Montevideo, which means it has a territory, a people, and a government.
  2. The ROC continues to exist since its establishment in 1911, only on a reduced territory after 1949.
  3. The creation and continuity of a state is only a factual issue, not a legal question. Declarations and recognition by other states cannot have any impact on their existence. According to the declaratory theory of recognition, the recognition of third states are not a requirement for being a state. Most of the cited declarations by American or British politicians are not legal statements but solely political intents.
  4. The PRC has never exercised control over Taiwan.
  5. The Treaty of Taipei formalized the peace between Japan and the ROC. In it, Japan reaffirmed Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Declaration and voided all treaties conducted between China and Japan (including the Treaty of Shimonoseki).
  6. Applying the principle of uti possidetis with regard to the Treaty of Taipei would grant Taiwan's sovereignty to the ROC, as it is undisputed that at the c

    Naming issues surrounding Taiwan/ROC continue to be a contentious issue in non-governmental organizations such as the Lions Club, which faced considerable controversy naming its Taiwanese branch.[50]

    Today, the ROC is the de facto government of Taiwan; whereas the PRC is the de facto government over Mainland China. However, each government claims to be the legitimate government of all China de jure. The arguments below are frequently used by proponents and/or opponents of these claims.

    Arguments common to both the PRC and ROC

    The ROC and PRC both officially support the One China policy and thus share common arguments. In the arguments below, "Chinese" is an ambiguous term that could mean the PRC and/or ROC as legal government(s) of China.

    1. The waging of aggressive war by Japan against China in 1937 and beyond violates the peace that was brokered in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. In 1941, with the declaration of war against Japan, the Chinese government declared this treaty void ab initio (never happened in the first place). Therefore, some argue that, with no valid transfer of sovereignty taking place, the sovereignty of Taiwan naturally belongs to China.[51]
    2. The Cairo Declaration of 1 December 1943 was accepted by Japan in its surrender. This document states that Taiwan was to be restored to the Republic of China at the end of World War II. Likewise, the Potsdam Declaration of 26 July 1945, also accepted by Japan, implies that it will no longer have sovereignty over Taiwan by stating that "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands".
    3. The proclamation of Taiwan Retrocession Day on 25 October 1945, by the ROC (when the PRC had not yet been founded) was entirely uncontested. Had another party been sovereign over Taiwan, that party would have had a period of years in which to protest, and its failure to do so represents cession of rights in the manner of prescripti

      Arguments common to both the PRC and ROC

      The ROC and PRC both officially support the One China policy and thus share common arguments. In the arguments below, "Chinese" is an ambiguous term that could mean the PRC and/or ROC as legal government(s) of China.

      Arguments in support of ROC sovereignty claims

      1. The ROC fulfills all requirements for a state according to the Convention of Montevideo, which means it has a territory, a people, and a government.
      2. The ROC continues to exist since its establishment in 1911, only on a reduced territory after 1949.
      3. The creation and continuity of a state is only a factual issue, not a legal question. Declarations and recognition by other states cannot have any impact on their existence. According to the declaratory theory of recognition, the recognition of third states are not a requirement for being a state. Most of the cited declarations by American or British politicians are not legal statements but solely political intents.
      4. The PRC has never exercised control over Taiwan.
      5. The Treaty of Taipei formalized the peace between Japan and the ROC. In it, Japan reaffirmed Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Declaration and voided all treaties conducted between China and Japan (including the Treaty of Shimonoseki).
      6. Applying the principle of uti possidetis with regard to the Treaty of Taipei would grant Taiwan's sovereignty to the ROC, as it is undisputed that at the coming into force of the treaty, the ROC controlled Taiwan.[55]
      7. Article 4 of the ROC Constitution clearly states that "The territory of the Republic of China" is defined "according to its existing national boundaries..." Taiwan was historically part of China and is therefore naturally included therein. Also, as Treaty of Shimonoseki is void ab initio,[dubious ] China has never legally dispossessed of the sovereignty of the territory. There is, accordingly, no need to have a National Assembly resolution to include the territory.
      8. The ROC – USA Mutual Defense Treaty of 1955 states that "the terms "territorial" and "territories" shall mean in respect of the Republic of China, Taiwan and the Pescadores" and thus can be read as implicitly recognizing the ROC sovereignty over Taiwan.[dubious ] However, the treaty was terminated in 1980.

      Arguments in support of PRC sovereignty claims

      1. The PRC does not recognize the validity of any of the unequal treaties the Qing signed in the "century of humiliation," as it considers them all unjust and illegal, as is the position during Transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the PRC. As such, the cession of Taiwan in the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki actually never took place in a de jure fashion. The PRC, as the successor to the Qing and ROC in that order, therefore inherited the sovereignty of Taiwan.[Transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the PRC. As such, the cession of Taiwan in the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki actually never took place in a de jure fashion. The PRC, as the successor to the Qing and ROC in that order, therefore inherited the sovereignty of Taiwan.[original research?]
      2. The return of the sovereignty of Taiwan to the ROC was confirmed on 25 October 1945, on the basis of the Cairo Declaration, Potsdam Proclamation, Japanese Instrument of Surrender, and the invalidity of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. According to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, the PRC became the successor government to the ROC in representing China, and as such the PRC unquestionably holds the sovereignty of Taiwan.[original research?]
      3. In the Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China to the end of Treaty of Taipei, the document signifying the commencement of the PRC and Japan's formal relations, Japan in article 3 stated that it fully understands and respects the position of the Government of the People's Republic of China that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China. Japan also firmly maintains its stand under Article 8 of the Potsdam Declaration which says "the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out". The Cairo Declaration says "All territories Japan has stolen from China, including Manchuria, Taiwan, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China". The PRC argues that it is a successor state of the ROC and is therefore entitled to all of the ROC's holdings and benefits.[56]

      Arguments for Taiwanese self-sovereignty claims and its legal status

      Arguments for Taiwan already being an independent, sovereign nation

      1. The peace that was brokered in the Treaty of Shimonoseki was breached by the Boxer Rebellion, which led to the conclusion of the Boxer Protocol of 1901 (Peace Agreement between the Great Powers and China),[57] and China, not by the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Treaty of Shimonoseki was a dispositive treaty, therefore it is not voidable or nullifiable (this doctrine being that treaties specifying particular actions which can be completed, once the action gets completed, cannot be voided or reversed without a new treaty specifically reversing that clause). Hence, the unequal treaty doctrine cannot be applied to this treaty.[citation needed] By way of comparison, as 200,000,000 Kuping taels were not returned to China from Japan, and Korea had not become a Chinese-dependent country again, the cession in the treaty was executed and cannot be nullified. The disposition of Formosa and the Pescadores in this treaty was a legitimate cession by conquest, confirmed by treaty, and thus is not a theft, as described as "all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese" in Cairo Declaration.
      2. It should also be noted that the Qing court exercised effective sovereignty over primarily the west coast of Taiwan only, and even then did not regard the area as an integral part of national Chinese territory.[citation needed]
      3. The "Cairo Declaration" was merely an unsigned press communiqué which does not carry a legal status, while the Potsdam Proclamation and Instrument of Surrender are simply modus vivendi and armistice that function as temporary records and do not bear legally binding power to transfer sovereignty. Good faith of interpretation only takes place at the level of treaties.
      4. The "retrocession" proclaimed by ROC in 1945 was legally null and impossible since Taiwan was still de jure part of Japan before the post-war San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect on 28 April 1952. Consequently, th

        Arguments by various groups that claim Taiwan should declare itself to be an independent sovereign nation

        1. As one of the "territories which detached from enemy states as a result of the Second World War" defined in the articles 76b and 77b of the United Nations Charter, which China signed in 1945 and also defined in the protocol of Yalta Conference, Taiwan qualifies for the UN trusteeship program, and after a period of time would later be considered fully independent. The ROC, as a founding member of the United Nations, has a treaty obligation to comply with the UN Charter and to help the people living in Taiwan enjoy the right of self-determination.
        2. The San Francisco Peace Treaty is definitive, where Japan ceded Taiwan (like Sakhalin and Kuril Islands etc.) without specifying a clear recipient. China was prohibited[by whom?][citation needed] from acquiring Taiwan sovereignty as a benefit when the treaty was finalized[original research?]. Moreover, the Treaty of Taipei only became effective on 5 August 1952, over three months after the coming into force of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on 28 April 1952. Hence, the Treaty of Taipei cannot be interpreted to have ceded the sovereignty of Taiwan to the ROC or the PRC, but only as a recognition of the territories which ROC had and under its control, as Japan cannot cede what it no longer possessed.
        3. Since the peace brokered in the Boxer Protocol of 1901 was breached by the second Sino-Japanese War, the San Francisco Peace Treaty specifies that the date to be used in returning territory to China in Article 10 was 1901, not 1895. The postliminium restoration of China was completed without sovereignty over Taiwan since Taiwan was not part of China when the first Chinese Republic was established in 1911. Moreover, the Treaty of Taipei was abrogated by Japan upon the PRC's request in 1972.
        4. Cession of Taiwan without a recipient was neither unusual nor unique, since Cuba, as a precedent, was ceded by Spain without recipient in Treaty of Paris of 1898 as the result of Spanish–American War. Cuba reached independence in May 1902. At the end of WWII, Libya and Somaliland were also relinquished without recipient by Italy in the Treaty of peace with Italy of 1947 and both reached independence later.
        5. The Nationality Law of the Republic of China was originally promulgated in February 1929. However, no amendment or change to this law or any other law has ever been made by the Legislative Yuan in the post WWII period to reflect any mass-naturalization of native Taiwanese persons as ROC citizens. This is important because Article 10 of the Treaty of Taipei specifies: "For the purposes of the present Treaty, nationals of the Republic of China shall be deemed to include all the inhabitants and former inhabitants of Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) and their descendants who are of the Chinese nationality in accordance with the laws and regulations which have been or may hereafter be enforced by the Republic of China in Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) ... " Since no relevant laws or regulations have ever been promulgated, there is no legal basis to consider native Taiwanese persons as ROC citizens.
        6. Furthermore it is recognized that the ROC government currently administering Taiwan is not the same ROC that accepted Japanese surrender in 1945, because the ruling authorities were given popular mandate by different pools of constituencies: one is the mainland Chinese electorate, the other local Taiwanese. The popular sovereignty theory, to which the Pan-Green coalition subscribes, emphasizes that Taiwan could make fundamental constitutional changes and choose a new national title by means of a popular referendum. (In contrast, the ROC legal theory, which is supported by the Pan-Blue coalition suggests that any fundamental constitutional changes would require that the amendment procedure of the ROC constitution be followed.)
        7. Nevertheless the popular sovereignty theory does not contradict any arguments in favor of self-determination, nor does it affirm arguments in favor of Chinese sovereignty. This means that at present the only obstacle against declaring Taiwan independence is a lack of consensus among the Taiwanese people to do so; however it is clear that the consensus is changing as the Taiwanese people begin preparations for their 15th application for entrance to the United Nations in the fall of 2007.
        8. The San Francisco Peace Treaty's omission of "China" as a participant was not an accident of history, but reflected the status that the Republic of China had failed to maintain its original position as the de jure[which?] and de facto government of the "whole China". By fleein

          Many political leaders who have maintained some form of One-China Policy have committed slips of the tongue in referring to Taiwan as a country or as the Republic of China. United States presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have been known to have referred to Taiwan as a country during their terms of office. Although near the end of his term as U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell said that Taiwan is not a state, he referred to Taiwan as the Republic of China twice during a testimony to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 9 March 2001.[64] In the People's Republic of China Premier Zhu Rongji's farewell speech to the National People's Congress, Zhu accidentally referred to Mainland China and Taiwan as two countries.[65] Zhu says in his speech at MIT University on April 15, 1999, "These raw materials and the components are mainly imported from Japan, [Korea], Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, while the value-added parts in China is very, very insignificant. That is to say, Chinese exports to the United States actually represent a transfer of the exports to the United States by the above-mentioned countries and the regions that I mentioned.".[66] There are also those from the PRC who informally refer to Taiwan as a country.[67] South Africa delegates once referred to Taiwan as the "Republic of Taiwan" during Lee Teng-hui's term as President of the ROC.[68] In 2002, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, referred to Taiwan as a country.[69] Most recently, former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated in a local Chinese newspaper in California in July 2005 that Taiwan is "a sovereign nation". The People's Republic of China discovered the statement about three months after it was made.[citation needed]

          In a controversial speech on 4 February 2006, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso called Taiwan a country with very high education levels because of previous Japanese colonial rule over the island.[70] One month later, he told a Japanese parliamentary committee that "[Taiwan's] democracy is considerably matured and liberal economics is deeply ingrained, so it is a law-abiding country. In various ways, it is a country that shares a sense of values with Japan." At the same time, he admitted that "I know there will be a problem with calling [Taiwan] a country".[71] Later, the Japanese Foreign Ministry tried to downplay or reinterpret his remarks.[citation needed]

          In February 2007, the Royal Grenada Police Band played the National Anthem of the Republic of China in an inauguration of the reconstructed St George's Queen's Park Stadium funded by the PRC. Grenada had broken off diplomatic relations with Taiwan just two years prior in favor of the PRC.[72]

          When the Kuomintang visited Mainland China in 2005, the government-controlled PRC media called this event a "visit," and called the KMT one of "Taiwan's political parties" even though the Kuomintang's full name remains the "Chinese Nationalist Party." In mainland China, there is a legal party called the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang that is officially one of the nine "consultative parties," according to the PRC's Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

          On the Foreign Missions page of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for China, the embassy of the People's Republic of China was referred to as the 'Republic of China'.[73]

          Taiwan was classified as a province of the People's Republic of China in the Apple Maps application in 2013; searches for "Taiwan" were changed automatically to "China Taiwan province" in Simplified Chinese, prompting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand a correction from Apple.[74]

          Possible military solutions and intervention

          Until 1979, both sides intended to resolve the conflict militarily.[citation needed] Intermittent clashes occurred throughout the 1950s and 1960s, with escalations comprising the First and Second Taiwan Strait crises. In 1979, with the U.S. change of diplomatic recognition to the PRC, the ROC lost its ally needed to "recover the mainland." Meanwhile, the PRC's desire to be accepted in the international community led it to promote peaceful unification under what would later be termed "one country, two systems", rather than to "liberate Taiwan" and to make Taiwan a Special Administrative Region.

          PRC's condition on military intervention

          Notwithstanding, the PRC government has issued triggers for an immediate war with Taiwan, most notably via its controversial Anti-Secession Law of 2005. These conditions are:

          • if events occur leading to the "separation" of Taiwan from China in any name, or
          • if a major event occurs which would lead to Taiwan's "separation" from China, or
          • if all possibility of peaceful unification is lost.

          It has been interpreted that these criteria encompass the scenario of Taiwan developing nuclear weapons (see main article Taiwan and weapons of mass destruction also Timeline of the Republic of China's nuclear program).

          Much saber-rattling by the PRC has been done over this, with Jiang Zemin, after assuming the mantle of the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, becoming a leading voice.

          The third condition has especially caused a stir in Taiwan as the term "indefinitely" is open to interpretation.[citation needed] It has also been viewed by some as meaning that preserving the ambiguous status quo is not acceptable to the PRC, although the PRC stated on many occasions that there is no explicit timetable for reunification.

          Concern over a formal declaration of de jure Taiwan independence is a strong impetus for the military buildup between Taiwan and mainland China. The former US Bush administration publicly declared that given the status quo, it would not aid Taiwan if it were to declare independence unilaterally.[75]

          According to the US Department of Defense report "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2011" conditions that mainland China has warned may cause the use of force have varied. They have included "a formal declaration of Taiwan independence; undefined moves "toward independence"; foreign intervention in Taiwan's internal affairs; indefinite delays in the resumption of cross-Strait dialogue on unification; Taiwan's acquisition of nuclear weapons; and, internal unrest on Taiwan. Article 8 of the March 2005 "Anti-Secession Law" states Beijing would resort to "non-peaceful means" if "secessionist forces . . . cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China," if "major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession" occur, or if "possibilities for peaceful reunification" are exhausted".Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso called Taiwan a country with very high education levels because of previous Japanese colonial rule over the island.[70] One month later, he told a Japanese parliamentary committee that "[Taiwan's] democracy is considerably matured and liberal economics is deeply ingrained, so it is a law-abiding country. In various ways, it is a country that shares a sense of values with Japan." At the same time, he admitted that "I know there will be a problem with calling [Taiwan] a country".[71] Later, the Japanese Foreign Ministry tried to downplay or reinterpret his remarks.[citation needed]

          In February 2007, the Royal Grenada Police Band played the National Anthem of the Republic of China in an inauguration of the reconstructed St George's Queen's Park Stadium funded by the PRC. Grenada had broken off diplomatic relations with Taiwan just two years prior in favor of the PRC.[72]

          When the Kuomintang visited Mainland China in 2005, the government-controlled PRC media called this event a "visit," and called the KMT one of "Taiwan's political parties" even though the Kuomintang's full name remains the "Chinese Nationalist Party." In mainland China, there is a legal party called the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang that is officially one of the nine "consultative parties," according to the PRC's Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

          On the Foreign Missions page of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for China, the embassy of the People's Republic of China was referred to as the 'Republic of China'.[73]

          Taiwan was classified as a province of the People's Republic of China in the Apple Maps application in 2013; searches for "Taiwan" were changed automatically to "China Taiwan province" in Simplified Chinese, prompting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand a correction from Apple.[74]

          Until 1979, both sides intended to resolve the conflict militarily.[citation needed] Intermittent clashes occurred throughout the 1950s and 1960s, with escalations comprising the First and Second Taiwan Strait crises. In 1979, with the U.S. change of diplomatic recognition to the PRC, the ROC lost its ally needed to "recover the mainland." Meanwhile, the PRC's desire to be accepted in the international community led it to promote peaceful unification under what would later be termed "one country, two systems", rather than to "liberate Taiwan" and to make Taiwan a Special Administrative Region.

          Notwithstanding, the PRC government has issued triggers for an immediate war with Taiwan, most notably via its controversial Anti-Secession Law of 2005. These conditions are:

          • if events occur leading to the "separation" of Taiwan from China in any name, or
          • if a major event occurs which would lead to Taiwan's "separation" from

            It has been interpreted that these criteria encompass the scenario of Taiwan developing nuclear weapons (see main article Taiwan and weapons of mass destruction also Timeline of the Republic of China's nuclear program).

            Much saber-rattling by the PRC has been done over this, with Jiang Zemin, after assuming the mantle of the Chairman of the Central Military

            Much saber-rattling by the PRC has been done over this, with Jiang Zemin, after assuming the mantle of the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, becoming a leading voice.

            The third condition has especially caused a stir in Taiwan as the term "indefinitely" is open to interpretation.[citation needed] It has also been viewed by some as meaning that preserving the ambiguous status quo is not acceptable to the PRC, although the PRC stated on many occasions that there is no explicit timetable for reunification.

            Concern over a formal declaration of de jure Taiwan independence is a strong impetus for the military buildup between Taiwan and mainland China. The former US Bush administration publicly declared that given the status quo, it would not aid Taiwan if it were to declare independence unilaterally.[75]

            According to the US Department of Defense report "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2011" conditions that mainland China has warned may cause the use of force have varied. They have included "a formal declaration of Taiwan independence; undefined moves "toward independence"; foreign intervention in Taiwan's internal affairs; indefinite delays in the resumption of cross-Strait dialogue on unification; Taiwan's acquisition of nuclear weapons; and, internal unrest on Taiwan. Article 8 of the March 2005 "Anti-Secession Law" states Beijing would resort to "non-peaceful means" if "secessionist forces . . . cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China," if "major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession" occur, or if "possibilities for peaceful reunification" are exhausted".[76][check quotation syntax]

            The possibility of war, the close geographical proximity of ROC-controlled Taiwan and PRC-controlled mainland China, and the resulting flare-ups that occur every few years, conspire to make this one of the most watched focal points in the Pacific. Both sides have chosen to have a strong naval presence. However, naval strategies between both powers greatly shifted in the 1980s and 1990s, while the ROC assumed a more defensive attitude by building and buying frigates and missile destroyers, and the PRC a more aggressive posture by developing long-range cruise missiles and supersonic surface-to-surface missiles.

            Although the People's Liberation Army Air Force is considered large, most of its fleet consists of older generation J-7 fighters (localized MiG-21s and Mig-21BIs), raising doubts over the PLAAF's ability to control Taiwan's airspace in the event of a conflict. Since mid-1990s PRC has been purchasing, and later localizing, SU-27 based fighters. These Russian fighters, as well as their Chinese J11A variants, are currently over 170 in number, and have increased the effectiveness of PLAAF's Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capabilities. The introduction of 60 new-generation J10A fighters is anticipated to increase the PLAAF's firepower. PRC's acquisition of Russian Su30MKKs further enhanced the PLAAF's air-to-ground support ability. The ROC's air force, on the other hand, relies on Taiwan's fourth generation fighters, consisting of 150 US-built F-16 Fighting Falcons, approximately 60 French-built Mirage 2000-5s, and approximately 130 locally developed IDFs (Indigenous Defense Fighters). All of these ROC fighter jets are able to conduct BVR combat missions with BVR missiles, but the level of technology in mainland Chinese fighters is catching up. Also the United States Defense Intelligence Agency has reported that few of Taiwan's 400 total fighters are operationally capable.[77][78]

            In 2003, the ROC purchased four missile destroyers—the former Kidd class, and expressed a strong interest in the Arleigh Burke class. But with the growth of the PRC navy and air force, some doubt that the ROC could withstand a determined invasion attempt from mainland China in the future. These concerns have led to a view in certain quarters that Taiwanese independence, if it is to be implemented, should be attempted as early as possible, while the ROC still has the capacity to defend itself in an all-out military conflict. Over the past three decades, estimates of how long the ROC can withstand a full-scale invasion from across the Strait without any outside help have decreased from three months to only six days.[79] Given such estimates, the US Navy has continued practicing "surging" its carrier groups, giving it the experience necessary to respond quickly to an attack on Taiwan.[80] The US also collects data on the PRC's military deployments, through the use of spy satellites, for example.[citation needed] For early surveillance may effectively identify PRC's massive military movement, which may imply PRC's preparation for a military assault against Taiwan.

            However, numerous reports issued by the PRC, ROC and US militaries make mutually wild contradictory statements about the possible defense of Taiwan.[citation needed]

            Naturally, war contingencies are not being planned in a vacuum. In 1979, the United States Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act, a law generally interpreted as mandating U.S. defense of Taiwan in the event of an attack from the Chinese Mainland (the Act is applied to Taiwan and Penghu, but not to Kinmen or Matsu, which are usually considered to be part of Mainland China). The United States maintains the world's largest permanent fleet in the Pacific Region near Taiwan. The Seventh Fleet, operating primarily out of various bases in Japan, is a powerful naval contingent built upon the world's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington. Although the stated purpose of the fleet is not Taiwanese defense, it can be safely assumed from past actions, that is one of the reasons why the fleet is stationed in those waters.[citation needed] It is written into the strategy of the United States department of defense within this region that, "First, we are strengthening our military capacity to ensure the United States can successfully deter conflict and coercion and respond decisively when needed. Second, we are working together with our allies and partners from Northeast Asia to the Indian Ocean to build their capacity to address potential challenges in their waters and across the region. Third, we are leveraging military diplomacy to build greater transparency, reduce the risk of miscalculation or conflict, and promote shared maritime rules of the road."[81]

            Starting in 2000, Japan renewed its defense obligations with the US and embarked on a rearmament program, partly in response to fears that Taiwan might be invaded. Some analysts believed that the PRC could launch preemptive strikes on military bases in Japan to deter US and Japanese forces from coming to the ROC's aid. Japanese strategic planners also see an independent Taiwan as vital, not only because the ROC controls valuable shipping routes, but also because its capture by PRC would make Japan more vulnerable. During World War II, the US invaded the Philippines, but another viable target to enable direct attacks on Japan would have been Taiwan (then known as Formosa). However, critics of the preemptive strike theory assert that the PRC would be loath to give Japan and the US such an excuse to intervene.[82]

            The United States Department of Defense in a 2011 report stated that the primary mission of the PRC military is a possible military conflict with Taiwan, including also possible US military assistance. Although the risk of a crisis in the short-term is low, in the absence of new political developments, Taiwan will likely dominate future military modernization and planning. However, also other priorities are becoming increasingly prominent and possible due to increasing military resources. Many of mainland China's most advanced military systems are stationed in areas opposite Taiwan. The rapid military modernization is continually changing the military balance of power towards mainland China.[83]

            A 2008 report by the RAND Corporation analyzing a theoretical 2020 attack by mainland China on Taiwan suggested that the US would likely not be able to defend Taiwan. Cruise missile developments may enable China to partially or completely destroy or make inoperative US aircraft carriers and bases in the Western Pacific. New Chinese radars will likely be able to detect US stealth aircraft and China is acquiring stealthy and more effective aircraft. The reliability of US beyond-visual-range missiles as a mean to achieve air superiority is questionable and largely unproven.[84]

            In 1996, the PRC began conducting military exercises near Taiwan, and launched several ballistic missiles over the island. The saber-rattling was done in response to the possible re-election of then President Lee Teng-hui.[85] The United States, under President Clinton, sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the region, reportedly sailing them into the Taiwan Strait.[86] The PRC, unable to track the ships' movements, and probably unwilling to escalate the conflict, quickly backed down. The event had little impact on the outcome of the election, since none of Lee's contestants were strong enough to defeat him, but it is widely believed that the PRC's aggressive acts, far from intimidating the Taiwanese population, gave Lee a boost that pushed his share of votes over 50 percent.[87] This was an aggressively serious escalation in response to the Taiwan Strait and the ongoing conflict between China and Taiwan. This hostile reaction by mainland China is the result of China implementing Putnam's Two-Level Game theory. This theory suggests that the chief negotiator of a state must balance and abide by both international and domestic interests, and in some cases must focus more on domestic interests. In the case of China, "a serious escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait and raised the specter of war—one that could conceivably draw in the United States. This turn of events is either the result of pressure by hawkish, hard-line soldiers on moderate, mild-mannered statesmen for a tougher, more aggressive response to Taiwan, or a strong consensus among both civilian and military leaders in the Politburo."[88]

            The possibility of war in the Taiwan Straits, even though quite low in the short-term, requires the PRC, ROC, and U.S. to remain wary and vigilant. The goal of the three parties at the moment seems to be, for the most part, to maintain the status quo.

            Developments since 2004 and future prospects

            Judicial

            On 24 October 2006, Dr. Roger C. S. Lin led a group of Taiwanese residents, including members of the Taiwan Nation Party, to file a Complaint for Declaratory Relief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. According to their lawyer, Mr. Charles Camp, "the Complaint asks the Court to declare whether the Taiwanese plaintiffs, including members of the Taiwan Nation Party, have certain rights under the United States Constitution and other US laws".Taiwan Nation Party, to file a Complaint for Declaratory Relief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. According to their lawyer, Mr. Charles Camp, "the Complaint asks the Court to declare whether the Taiwanese plaintiffs, including members of the Taiwan Nation Party, have certain rights under the United States Constitution and other US laws".[89] Their central argument is that, following Japanese renunciation of all rights and claims to Taiwan, Taiwan came under U.S. jurisdiction based on it being the principal occupying power as designated in the Treaty of Peace with Japan and remains so to this day. This case was opposed by the United States government.

            The District Court agreed with United States government on 18 March 2008 and ruled that the case presents a political question; as suc

            The District Court agreed with United States government on 18 March 2008 and ruled that the case presents a political question; as such, the court concluded that it had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and dismissed the complaint.[90] This decision has been appealed by plaintiffs[91] and the appeals court unanimously upheld the district court ruling.[92]

            The PRC and Taiwan have agreed to increase cooperation in the area of law enforcement. Mainland police began staffing a liaison office in Taipei in 2010.[93]

            Although the situation is complex, most observers believe that it is stable with enough understandings and gentlemen's agreements to keep things from breaking out into open warfare. The current controversy is over the term one China, as the PRC insists that the ROC must recognize this term to begin negotiations. Although the Democratic Progressive Party has moderated its support for Taiwan independence, there is still insufficient support within that party for former President Chen Shui-bian to agree to one China. By contrast, the Kuomintang (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) appear willing to agree to some variation of one China, and observers believed the position of the PRC was designed to sideline Chen until the 2004 presidential election where it was hoped that someone who was more supportive of Chinese reunification would come to power. Partly to counter this, Chen Shui-bian announced in July 2002 that if the PRC does not respond to Taiwan's goodwill, Taiwan may "go on its own ... road."[citation needed] What ROC president, Chen Shui-bian, means by this is that there are other ways of combatting China as a powerful hegemon. For example, "If Taiwan's Chen Shui-bian had declared legal independence by a popular referendum, scholars agree that is could have immediately triggered a crisis in China, due to its political sensitivity on the mainland".[94] Taiwan's forced establishment of sovereignty scares the PRC; so when they implement laws, such as the Anti-secession law, it angers ROC's public opinion, and actually creates a 'rallying around the flag' effect[95] in support of the Taiwanese independence movement.

            With Chen's re-election in 2004, Beijing's prospects for a speedi

            With Chen's re-election in 2004, Beijing's prospects for a speedier resolution were dampened, though they seemed strengthened again following the Pan-Blue majority in the 2004 legislative elections. However, public opinion in Taiwan reacted unfavorably towards the anti-secession law passed by the PRC in March 2005. Following two high-profile visits by KMT and PFP party leaders to the PRC, the balance of public opinion appears to be ambiguous, with the Pan-Green Coalition gaining a majority in the 2005 National Assembly elections, but the Pan-Blue Coalition scoring a landslide victory in the 2005 municipal elections.

            Legislative elections were held in Taiwan on January 12, 2008. The results gave the Kuomintang and the Pan-Blue Coalition an absolute majority (86 of the 113 seats) in the legislature, handing a heavy defeat to President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party, which won the remaining 27 seats. The junior partner in the Pan-Green Coalition, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, won no seats.

            The election for the 12th President of ROC was held on March 22, 2008. Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou won, with 58% of the vote, ending eight years of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leadership. Along with the 2008 legislative election, Ma's landslide victory brought the Kuomintang back to power in Taiwan. This new political situation has led to a decrease of tension between both sides of the Taiwan Strait and the increase of cross-strait relations, making a declaration of independence, or war, something unlikely.