The ‘Know Your Region’ series is designed to support unit and individual professional military education on the Indo-Pacific region.


Taiwan, also known by its official name the Republic of China, is home to around 24 million people and is independently governed by its own democratically elected government. China, known by its official name the People’s Republic of China, is a country of more than 1.4 billion people and is led by the Chinese Communist Party. Taiwan and China share considerable history, so too do Taiwan and Japan. 

Taiwan-China Relations

As a democracy, Taiwan’s official stance on China can change drastically depending on which political party and which President is elected to power. This means that those Taiwanese people with strong opinions on the matter may support a particular political party dependent on that party’s stance toward China at the time of an election. 

The two main political parties have very different stances on China and its one-China policy. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is currently in power, opposes any assertion that Taiwan belongs to China. The Kuomintang Party (KMT), which was originally the sole ruling power on mainland China until 1949 when it fled to Taiwan after losing power, has been more receptive to the one-China policy in recent decades. However, it (the KMT) has recently tempered its policies due to the majority of the Taiwanese population not supporting unification with China. The KMTs stance is now to seek open dialogue with China rather than being closed off to the country and its government. 

In the recent election in January 2024 the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) gained prominence by focussing its policies on governing Taiwan rather than discussing China. This difference was a welcome change, particularly for young voters who are more concerned about the economy and job opportunities than any prospect of war with China. China’s stance on the election was that Taiwan’s return to China is inevitable and the election is a choice between a peaceful and non-peaceful resolution. 

Taiwan’s status remains in limbo and the economic and diplomatic power that China holds is likely to keep it that way. While peaceful unification seems unlikely, war must be avoided at all costs due to the global strategic implications it would have. In particular, the US intolerance to military intervention within the region is likely to draw it in to any war on Taiwan. Such an outcome is likely to implicate other nations in defence of Taiwan. 

For further information on Taiwan-China relations, see the resources below:


  1. China and Taiwan: A really simple guide – BBC News
  2. What's behind China-Taiwan tensions? – BBC News
  3. Why China-Taiwan Relations Are So Tense | Council on Foreign Relations (
  4. China spinning a ‘web’ of influence campaigns to win over Taiwan | Politics News | Al Jazeera
  5. Don’t let China veto Australia’s ties with Taiwan | Lowy Institute
  6. China Ramps Up Efforts to Interfere in Taiwan’s Coming Elections (
  7. China Rolls Out Carrot-and-Stick Strategy to Influence Taiwan Ahead of Key Election (