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The Asia-Pacific Report

The Asia-Pacific Report

Sameera Casmod | sameerac@radioislam.co.za
04 April 2024 | 12:40 SAST
1-minute read

The effects of Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years include the loss of 9 lives, over 1 000 injuries, and widespread damage. The 7.4 magnitude tremor struck the island’s east coast on Wednesday, near the city of Hualien.

A series of aftershocks ensued on the island, resulting in significant damage to infrastructure, including bridges and high-rise buildings.

According to reports, Taiwan is refusing to accept aid and development assistance from China, which is indicative of the longstanding political tensions and cross-strait disputes between the two sides.

Foreign Policy Analyst Sanusha Naidu from the Institute for Global Dialogue explains that the refusal reflects Taiwan’s insistence on its sovereignty and independence, a stance vehemently opposed by China, which considers Taiwan an integral part of its territory.

“I think that what you’re going to be seeing is those two dynamics—the rescue [and] the humanitarian issue—and whether or not there’ll be that kind of opening up of the space for China and Taiwan to perhaps find some kind of resolution or use this as a way to resolve some of those differences and what does this mean,” Naidu says.

The earthquake also raises questions about Taiwan’s preparedness and early warning systems, prompting scrutiny of the ruling political party’s efforts in disaster management.

Meanwhile, the recent phone call between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping conveyed a message of stability, yet underlying tensions persist. With the upcoming US presidential election adding uncertainty to the trajectory of US-China relations, observers remain cautious about the potential for significant shifts in the geopolitical landscape.

The call between Biden and Xi comes amidst ongoing disputes and mistrust, including tech restrictions, economic disputes, and concerns over Chinese companies’ activities abroad, exemplified by the scrutiny faced by TikTok.

“Those are flashpoints that need to be discussed in addition to the condemnation that took place around the tech restrictions and the economic disputes, and of course, more recently, the question about TikTok and what is being perceived and put out as a narrative that TikTok is spying for the Chinese,” Naidu says.

Listen to the Asia-Pacific Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.

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