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JC History Tuition Online - What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises - Superpower relations with China

What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises?

Learn more about the first Taiwan Straits Crisis of 1958 that shaped Sino-American relations from the late 1950s to the 1960s [Video by British Pathé]

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Superpower relations with China (1950-1979)

The First Taiwan Straits Crisis: A geopolitical contest
Following the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) victory over the Kuomintang (KMT) during the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the latter fled to Taiwan. The Taiwan Strait separated mainland China from Taiwan as the KMT formed the Republic of China (ROC).

Map depicting the Taiwan Strait that separated mainland China from Taiwan [Source: Ohio State University]

Quemoy (金门 or Kinmen) and Matsu (马祖) Islands were considered the first line of defence for Chiang Kai-shek’s ROC. Additionally, the United States offered to aid its newfound ally, the ROC, especially after its hostile interactions with Chinese troops during the Korean War.

Notably, US President Harry Truman delivered a rousing speech that reaffirmed the American commitment to its political alliances in East Asia, including Taiwan.

Accordingly I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done. The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.

An excerpt from a statement by the US President Harry Truman on Korea, 27 June 1950.

A Mutual Defense Treaty was signed with ROC to legitimise American military presence in the vicinity. Yet, such actions proved aggravating to Sino-American relations. In early September 1954, the PRC launched the bombardment of Quemoy and Matsu Islands. Chiang deployed about 100,000 troops to defend the two outermost islands, hoping that the American allies would come to their aid.

After the first crisis, the US Congress passed the “Formosa Resolution” that granted President Eisenhower the authority to defend Taiwan from communist aggression.

The Second Taiwan Straits Crisis: The Conflagration
During the Bandung Conference of 1955, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai expressed desire to negotiate with the United States, possibly to de-escalate tensions and avert a full-scale military conflict with it. The olive branch offered by Zhou to the United States had earned much support and praise from the attendees at the Asian-African Conference in Indonesia.

By following the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, nonaggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, the peaceful coexistence of countries with different social systems can be realized. When these principles are ensured of implementation, there is no reason why international disputes cannot be settled through negotiation.

An excerpt from Premier Zhou Enlai’s speech during the Asian-African Conference, 19 April 1955.

However, efforts to reduce tensions were negated by Eisenhower’s contemplated to use nuclear weapons on the PRC. On 23 August 1958, the Chinese leader Mao Zedong authorised the artillery bombardment of Quemoy Island. In retaliation, the ROC armed forces fought back.

Under the obligations of the American-Taiwan defense treaty of 1954, the United States offered military aid to the Nationalists. Increased American presence in the Taiwan Straits had alarmed the Soviet Union, such that Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko visited Beijing to uncover the rationale behind Mao’s decision to attack Quemoy. Fortunately, the conflict did not escalate into a nuclear confrontation.

Chairman Mao said that the bombardment of Jinmen, frankly speaking, was our turn to create international tension for a purpose. We intended to teach the Americans a lesson. America had bullied us for many years, so now that we had a chance, why not give it a hard time?

… In our propaganda, however, we still need to condemn the Americans for causing tension in the Taiwan Straits. We did not put them in the wrong. The United States has several thousand troops stationed on Taiwan, plus two air force bases there. Their largest fleet, the Seventh Fleet, often cruises in the Taiwan Straits.

An excerpt from the “Inside Story of the Decision Making during the Shelling Jinmen” by Wu Lengxi

A thorn in the flesh: Prelude to the Sino-Soviet Split
On 6 October 1958, a ceasefire was made. Yet, the peace was short-lived as the PRC resumed its attacks on the two islands for nearly two decades until the late 1970s due to the Sino-American rapprochement.

Along the same vein, the Taiwan Straits Crises in the 1950s had impacted Sino-Soviet relations. On the surface, it appeared as if the signing of the Treaty of Friendship had proved to be fortuitous for Mao Zedong as he received Soviet military support to deter American attacks. Yet, the diverging perceptions by the two Communist leaders began to cause the gradual deterioration of bilateral relations. Partly, Khrushchev’s hesitance to antagonise the United States could be traced to his notion of “Peaceful Coexistence” that Mao could not agree with.

New evidence suggests that, on the contrary, the Soviet Union did everything it had promised to do in support of the Chinese operation, and that it was China, not the USSR, that was unwilling to follow through. This outcome explains why Khrushchev, feeling he had been burned once, was determined not to let it happen again. From then on he emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan problem, a lesson that Mao was unwilling to draw, for fear it would expose the magnitude of his failure in the Quemoy crisis. These different views became a sore point in Sino-Soviet relations, as was evident during Khrushchev’s visit to Beijing in the autumn of 1959.

An excerpt from “The USSR Foreign Ministry’s appraisal of Sino-Soviet relations on the eve of the Split, September 1959” by Mark Kramer.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the Taiwan conflict was the root cause of the Sino-Soviet split.

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse the significance of Taiwan and other related factors that shaped superpower relation with China. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Students who enrol in the programme will receive concise study notes to enhance their study strategy and gear up for the examination.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - When was Acer founded - Asian Tigers Notes

When was Acer founded?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 3: Rise of Asian Tigers from 1970s to 1990s [South Korea and Taiwan]

Retrace the steps and find out how Acer was formed in the 1970s [Video by Acer]

The Origins: MultiTech
In 1976, Stan Shih (施振榮) founded MultiTech with six others, including his wife Carolyn Yeh (葉紫華). The company began its journey as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) by producing video games and distributing electronic imports. In the 1980s, MultiTech expanded its production by involving Amex as its first international distributor.

Multitech… it’s not just another new computer company. It is a leading manufacturer in the computer age, and its Taiwan manufacturing facility is the largest for personal computers. Since 1976, Multitech has been a pioneer in microcomputer technology. Today its products are sold in more than 40 countries. Earning a world-wide reputation for consistent high-quality, Multitech products have captured the loyalty of large OEMs, VARs and distrubtors.

An excerpt from “Multitech – the computer family that carries many famous names” by PC Mag, 13 May 1986.

The Rising Star: Acer
In 1987, MultiTech was renamed to Acer, signifying its entry as a key player in the Personal Computer (PC) industry. Shih capitalised on the low labour costs in Taiwan to accelerate export production. By 1991, more than two-thirds of Acer’s sales were accrued from foreign markets. Although Acer sought to position itself as a full-line PC supplier, about a third of its sales was still derived from OEM in the mid-1990s.

In addition, Acer had the support from the Taiwan government to engage in a joint-project with Texas Instruments (TI) to produce semiconductors in the famed Hsinchu Science Park. Joint ventures proved advantageous as Acer acquired technology to broaden its scope of production and improve quality.

Because technological capabilities were seen as necessary core competence and proximity to sophisticated customers was important to building these capabilities, Acer invested abroad to be near these customers. Initially, Acer penetrated OECD markets in Europe and North America. By 1993, Acer had moved from assembling PCs in Taiwan and Malaysia and shipping to European and US customers to assembling abroad with strict quality standards.

… By 1995, Acer, with a market value of US$2 billion, began to split itself into 21 public companies, listed on stock exchanges around the world, to open the company to foreign investment.

An excerpt from “Multinationals and East Asian Integration” by Wendy Dobson & Chia Siow Yue.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the importance of government intervention in shaping the rise of Acer.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about private businesses in Taiwan as part of the Rise of Asian Tigers topic. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning lessons that cover content review and the development of answering techniques for essay and source based case study.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - How did Taiwan become a successful export economy - JC History Essay Skills

How did Taiwan become a successful export economy?

How did Taiwan become an economic power in Asia? 
In continuation of the previous article pertaining to the contributing factors that led to the economic transformation of South Korea, we will now examine how Taiwan, also known as the ‘accidental nation’, achieved its economic success from the 1960s to the 1990s. Taiwan also undergone a process of rapid industrialisation, shifting its focus from domestic production to export-driven production that propelled the nation to its developed status.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 3: Rise of Asian Tigers from 1970s to 1990s [South Korea and Taiwan] 

In the following section, we will focus on four major roles that led to the economic miracle in Taiwan. Take note that these points are to be evaluated based on role and factor comparison, so as to improve your comprehension of these contributing roles to the economic development of Taiwan. For example, you should analyse the varying degrees of importance for government and private businesses in affecting the economic transformation of Taiwan.

1. Role of the Government
a. Target Setting and Planning
Taiwan began its planning phase with the establishment of the Council for United States Aid (CUSA) in 1948, which was later reformed as the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD). The CEPD played the role as a government agency to draft plans and set targets for the economic development of Taiwan. As a planning body, the CEPD decided on the allocation of state resources for the growth of industries, such as the distribution of development funds.

b. Policy Implementation
From the 1950s to 1960s, Taiwan’s economic policies were centred on the the implementation of the ‘import-substitution industrialisation’ (ISI) strategy, which focused on the protection of infant industries. For instance, the government introduced import restrictions on consumer goods to protect local firms from external competition. As a result, the agricultural sector flourished, contributing to the growth of the Taiwanese economy.

However, the economic contribution of the agricultural sector was low in value. As such, the Taiwanese government shifted its focus to ‘export-oriented industrialisation’ (EOI), which emphasised on the production of exports in capital-intensive industries. The government oversaw this development by passing laws that reinforced export-based production, such as the Provisions for Export Zone in 1965. Consequently, the EOI strategy was met with great success, as evidenced by the domination of numerous exporting goods in the international markets by the 1980s. For example, Taiwan was known for its exports of motherboards and computer terminals as it occupied more than three-quarters of the global exports.

2. Role of the Private Businesses [i.e. SMEs]
On the other hand, not only the public sector contributed to the economic transformation of Taiwan, but also the private counterpart, particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In contrast to South Korea, which is known for its few and massive chaebols that dominated the entire economy, Taiwan’s economic growth was driven by the existence of many SMEs. These SMEs played a crucial role in pursuing the goals set by the government, as observed by the large-scale production of exports. In the 1960s and 1970s, SMEs accompanied the government’s focus on EOI by producing standardised light-industry products. These goods were produced and sold at the international markets.

Over time, SMEs dominated the Taiwanese export production, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the entire country’s exports. Given that Taiwan’s economic developed hinged on export gains, this implied that SMEs became the key driver of the economy.

3. Role of Culture
Although Taiwan had a stark difference in the role of private businesses as compared to South Korea, the cultural factor remained similar, in the sense that favourable cultural influences could explain the remarkable economic performance of Taiwan from the 1960s to 1990s. Taiwan was also shaped by Confucianism, which is a philosophy that encouraged diligence, frugality and respect for authority.

One of the notable consequences of such cultural traits is the emergence of SMEs. In this case, the Taiwanese people were entrepreneurial. Their willingness to innovate and battle against the odds was critical in supporting this significant development. As a result, many business owners possessed the business acumen to deal with economic uncertainties.

Furthermore, the relevance of frugality to economic development can be explained by the high savings rate, which means that many firms have sources of financing to conduct investment activities that propel economic growth even more. Therefore, cultural values were important in helping us to understand the vigour that drives these firms.

4. International Developments [i.e. Role of USA]
The economic development of Taiwan was also supported by the role of USA, which increased its presence in Asia as a response to the perceived ideological threat of Communism. This response was carried out in the form of advancing economic progress by providing financial aid and other forms of support. For example, Taiwan was given exclusive access to American market and the privilege to impose trade protection temporarily. As such, USA occupied nearly two-fifths of Taiwan’s exports. From 1960s to 1970s, USA became Taiwan’s major export market, accounting for a large proportion of its economic growth.

Points to Ponder
Now that you have looked into the four major roles that affected the economic transformation of Taiwan, do consider the following ideas to reinforce your study of this topic for essay writing:
– How did the role of SMEs contribute to the economic miracle of Taiwan? 
– In comparison between South Korea’s chaebols with Taiwan’s SMEs, analyse their approaches in supporting the economic development of these two Asian Tigers. [to be discussed in class]

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