Crisis! De-Escalation In Taiwan

The world’s two largest military powers, The United States (US) and China are drifting towards a war over Taiwan (Council on Foreign Relations 2023). Both countries have made escalatory actions in recent months, worrying the international community due to potentially dire consequences of direct conflict between the United States and China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is committed to its “One China” policy, with President Xi Jinping emphasizing the unification of Taiwan as a necessary part of what he calls the “Chinese Dream,” a plan to restore China’s former glory by 2049 (Maizland 2023). The United States formally supports the One China policy while simultaneously providing aid towards Taiwan’s defense through its commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act, three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances (U.S. Department of State). The United States’ approach to foreign policy regarding Taiwan has remained consistent across decades of presidential administrations, despite its traditionally ambiguous nature. This is why Joe Bidens’s 2022 statement that the US would use its military to aid Taiwan if China used military force made headlines across the world.

The island of Taiwan first came under Chinese control in the 17th century under the Qing dynasty (Brown 2023). Japan then occupied the island in 1895 after the first Sino-Japanese War. After Mao Zedong’s communist party seized control of Mainland China in 1949, Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist Government fled to Taiwan, where their administration and ideals ruled for the coming decades. The complicated history of Taiwan creates separate narratives regarding Taiwan’s story of origin. China claims that Taiwan was originally of Chinese providence, while Taiwan argues that they have never been a part of the modern Chinese state, having autonomy during both the revolution of 1911 and Mao’s reign in 1949. Taiwan has not been recognized as a state by the United Nations since the passage of United Nations Resolution 2758, which recognized the People’s Republic as the only legitimate representation of China in 1971 (Winkler 2021). The PRC replaced the ROC (Taiwan) in the UN General Assembly and Security Council in October 1971. Taiwan is only recognized as a sovereign country by 13 states worldwide.

In 2016, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen loosened her administration’s ties with the CCP by aligning Taiwan’s foreign policy closer to that of the United States. Beijing has responded with increasingly aggressive actions, including flying fighter jets over the island’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) (Feng). Last August, China retaliated to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit by launching missiles over Taiwan into the sea. China also retaliated to US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s 2023 visit to Taiwan with “warlike drills,” including mock air and sea attacks (Davidson 2023).

A 2021 US Department of Defense report stated that China’s People’s Liberation Army is “likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the PRC by force, while simultaneously deterring, delaying, or denying any third-party intervention, such as the United States” (Maizland 2023). Escalation in military activity paired with reports of a potential US military response to defend Taiwan worries the international community, with a direct conflict between the US and China having likely catastrophic effects. With the recent global impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has created a greater awareness of the conceivable global consequences of military conflict surrounding Taiwan’s existence.

This committee will continue Security Council precedence in attempting to de-escalate global tensions and prevent the catastrophic consequences of war. Delegates will need to think on their feet, adjusting to changing conditions throughout the simulation. This simulation will provide an interesting perspective to delegates in understanding today’s global order through the relationships of the world’s two global superpowers.

Questions To Consider:
  1. Does your country recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state?
  2. Does your foreign policy align more closely with China or the United States?
  3. How would your country react if China used its military to integrate Taiwan by force?
  4. Would military intervention to assist China, Taiwan, or the United States be within your country’s best interests? How?
  5. How would your country’s economic ties to China and the United States affect your position regarding Taiwan?
  6. How would your allies react to an invasion of Taiwan?
  7. Does your country have a peaceful solution to offer to settle this dispute?
Resources to Consider:

Brown, David. “China and Taiwan: A Really Simple Guide.” BBC News, 6 Apr. 2023, Accessed 28 June 2023.

Culver, John. “Understanding Beijing’s motives regarding Taiwan, and America’s role.” Brookings, 30, March 2021.

Maizland, Lindsay. “Why China-Taiwan Relations Are so Tense.” Council on Foreign Relations, Accessed 12 June 2023.

McBride, James. “China’s Massive Belt and Road Initiative.” Council on Foreign Relations, Accessed 12 June 2023.


Brown, David. “China and Taiwan: A Really Simple Guide.” BBC News, 6 Apr. 2023, Accessed 28 June 2023.

Brunnstorm, David “Biden says U.S. forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion” Reuters 19 Sep. 2022, Accessed 28 June 2023.

Davidson, Helen ‘China’s drills near Taiwan a ‘war-like’ escalation from exercises last year’ The Guardian Accessed 29 June 2023

Feng, John. “China Fighter Jets Will Fly over Taiwan to Declare Sovereignty, State Media Says.” Newsweek, 13 Apr. 2021, Accessed 28 June 2023.

Countries That Recognize Taiwan 2023, Accessed 12 June 2023.

Li, Jeff. “Hong Kong-China Extradition Plans Explained.” BBC News, 10 June 2019, Accessed 28 June 2023.

Maizland, Lindsay. “Why China-Taiwan Relations Are so Tense.” Council on Foreign Relations, Accessed 12 June 2023.

McBride, James. “China’s Massive Belt and Road Initiative.” Council on Foreign Relations, Accessed 12 June 2023.

“The U.S. Must Do More to Deter China and Support Taiwan, Urges New CFR Task Force Report.” Council on Foreign Relations, 20 June 2023, Accessed 12 July 2023.

U.S. Department of State. “U.S. Relations with Taiwan - United States Department of State.” United States Department of State, 28 May 2022, Accessed 28 June 2023.

Wang, Christoph Nedophil. “Countries of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).” Green Finance & Development Center, Accessed 12 June 2023.

Winkler, Sigrid. “Taiwan’s UN Dilemma: To Be or Not To Be.” Brookings, 20 June, 2012 12 June 2023.