Skip to main content /WORLD /WORLD

Thorny China Taiwan relations

Beijing is on the verge of buying scores of SU-30 fighter jets from Moscow, according to Russian reports  

From Lisa Rose Weaver
CNN Correspondent

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- To the Chinese military, the Taiwan question is an issue of restoring China's sovereign territory.

And as a first step toward talks, it says the island's government must accept it is an integral part of China.

Public opinion doesn't stray far from the government's position.

Lately signals from Taiwanese President Chen Shui bian hint that if Beijing will neither back down from the threat of force nor engage in high level talks Taiwan may be forced to walk what Chen has called "it's own road."

In Beijing's view, Taiwan's local politics is the problem -- a temporary barrier China believes it can wait out.

Taiwan Strait: Asia's troubled waters 
CNN's Lisa Rose Weaver has more on the rocky relationship between China and Taiwan -- and China's military buildup.

Play video
China's People's Liberation Army 

Taiwan's armed forces 
China, Taiwan military strengths 

"China is working hard and waiting for this kind of chance. As long as Taiwan can agree about the one China view, I think China will be able to recognize Taiwanese interests. We hope this day arrives soon," says Xu Shiquan from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

China's ability to launch a military strike against Taiwan is strengthening, according to a recent Pentagon report.

Aging airforce

It is backing up its aging air force with new additions like Russian made SU-30 fighter jets.

Beijing is on the verge of buying scores of the jets from Moscow, according to Russian reports.

The purchase -- which Beijing would not immediately confirm -- will bolster other recent acquisitions and boost China's ability to potentially blockade Taiwan.

While China portrays its military option as a distant second behind a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question, estimates are that Beijing is adding around 50 short range missiles a year to its arsenal all well within striking distance from Taiwan.

That works against the respect of equal status Taiwan is seeking.

And diplomatically, Beijing's position seems set in stone with no indication of any give.




Back to the top