The risk of a serious crisis between China and Taiwan is growing. Cross-strait relations have chilled in recent years as a result of the unwillingness of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen to embrace the so-called 1992 Consensus—an understanding that was the basis for a warmer relationship between Beijing and Taipei under Tsai’s predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT).
According to the KMT, the 1992 Consensus holds that both mainland China and Taiwan belong to “one China” but with distinct interpretations. Beijing’s stance, however, is that the 1992 Consensus means there is “one China,” which is the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and that Taiwan is part of the PRC.
China responded to Tsai’s refusal to endorse its approach to the 1992 Consensus by implementing a multifaceted pressure campaign to punish and coerce Taiwan into being more compliant.
Beijing’s tactics have included suspending official and semiofficial mechanisms for cross-strait communications, reducing the number of mainland tourists allowed to visit Taiwan, pressuring countries that recognize Taiwan to sever diplomatic relations with the island, and conducting military exercises and information operations designed to intimidate Taiwan.
This pressure campaign could intensify in the next twelve to eighteen months—particularly in the lead-up to and immediately following Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election—to the extent that it triggers a new cross-strait crisis.
Source: Averting a Cross-Strait Crisis Between China and Taiwan