South China Sea and Taiwan Crisis, 2024
2023-08-07 11:26:55 ⋅ 6mn
January - March:
Taiwan's presidential campaign heats up, with a pro-independence candidate gaining significant traction. This candidate's platform includes a potential referendum on Taiwan's formal independence.
China responds with strong rhetoric, warning Taiwan against any moves towards independence and conducting naval exercises near the Taiwan Strait.
April - June:
The U.S. conducts a series of freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, challenging China's territorial claims. These operations are accompanied by joint naval exercises with allies such as Japan, Australia, and the Philippines.
A minor incident occurs in the South China Sea when a Philippine fishing boat collides with a Chinese Coast Guard vessel. Both sides blame each other, leading to a diplomatic standoff.
July - September:
The pro-independence candidate wins Taiwan's presidential election. Celebrations erupt in Taiwan, but China responds by cutting off diplomatic ties and increasing military patrols around the island.
In response to China's actions, the U.S. sends an aircraft carrier group to the region, signaling its commitment to Taiwan's defense.
October - December:
A U.S. reconnaissance plane and a Chinese fighter jet have a near-miss in the airspace near Taiwan. Both sides accuse each other of aggressive behavior.
ASEAN countries, concerned about the escalating tensions, call for an emergency summit to address the situation. The U.N. also gets involved, urging both sides to de-escalate.
Backchannel diplomatic efforts intensify. Russia offers to mediate between the U.S. and China, while European leaders urge restraint.
By the end of the year, a tentative agreement is reached. China agrees to reduce its military presence around Taiwan, and the U.S. agrees to limit its naval operations in the South China Sea. Taiwan, while not formally declaring independence, gains more international recognition and support.