China and Taiwan Relations Explained: What’s Behind the Divide

Days before being named president for an unprecedented third term, Chinese leader Xi Jinping 

let loose with an unusually blunt attack on what he said was a U.S.-led effort to contain China. At the top of Mr. Xi’s list of concerns is Washington’s relationship with Taiwan.

Taiwan is a self-ruled island of 24 million people that China claims as its own. Separated from China’s southeastern coast by 100 treacherous miles of sea, it is a vibrant democracy that produces the vast majority of the world’s advanced computer chips. It’s also a critical piece of Mr. Xi’s goal of restoring China’s standing as a great power, with the Chinese leader indicating he wants to take control of the island in his lifetime.

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