The Taiwan Strait is a 180 km wide strait separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia. The strait is a part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north. It is a waterway that has great significance even in today’s time.
Moving back in history, along with besieging Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the Philippines, setting off World War II in the pacific. The initial salvo in the Japanese Empire’s mission was to invade and subjugate Southeast Asia to quest for its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The air attack was sent off from the island of Taiwan, which was then under Japanese military rule. Taiwan was leaping off point for the assaults on the Philippines and Indonesia. All through the conflict, it filled in as the staging region and significant supply base that supported Japan’s armed forces in Southeast Asia and as the control point for all the shipping through the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. State Department then expressed that given vital variables, except for Singapore, no other region in the Far East involved such a controlling position.
Taiwan remains at the intersection of most of East Asia’s danger points in contemporary times. Historically, Taiwan’s pivotal location off the coast and between Northeast and Southeast Asia filled in various strategic purposes for territorial power, both defensive and offensive. As a result, Taiwan is located at the verge of the South China Sea’s shipping lanes, 100 miles off the coast of China, 200 miles from the Philippines towards the south, 900 miles from Vietnam, under 1000 miles from the Spratly Islands and 700 miles from Japan’s home island. The strait flow touches so many important ports and countries, allowing the shipping industry to carry out trade effectively.
However, the more the strait is celebrated, the more the conflicts attach to it. Despite improving cross-strait relations, the Taiwan strait still risks instability and conflict in Asia.
The Taiwan strait harbours significant wind farms. In addition, fishermen have used the strait for fishing since time immemorial. Moreover, it is the gateway used by ships of almost every kind on passage to and from nearly all the vital ports in the Northeast, in the modern world. Hence due to its geographical proximity to most Asian nations, the strait is of great significance to the world’s shipping industry.