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I need a way to change history so that Taiwan, in 2015, be using weapons manufactured and sold by mainland China as well as some US equipments--sort of like how Pakistan uses both Chinese and US weapons. There are some restrictions as presented by my world:

  1. China is still runned by the Party, though it could be a more democratic variant or a more dictatoral variant.
  2. Taiwan is still "de facto independent", it hasn't declare offical independence, but it hasn't been conquered by the mainland.
  3. US is still opposing China's rise. How far US is planning to go to prevent China's rise though, can be changed.
  4. There is a united semi-religious, semi-nationalistic group of terrorist army with global reach running amoke and causing huge amount of troubles to both US and China. They have no other common goal than to take down the current social norm and government of US, EU and China. Yes, this is the GLA from Command and Conquer Generals.
  5. European is united and militarily allied with US and waried with Russia, however, they economically seek closer ties with China
  6. Russia is an ally-of-convinence of China against US
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    $\begingroup$ I cannot conceive what could possibly make this happen in any shape or form without amicable terms between China and Taiwan, and nothing could plausibly bring that short of some new Pacific Economic Union with all the former WW2 victim nations of Japan with heavy sanctions against Japan. China would have to be willing to give Taiwan a seat, implications of such a move would be hairy unless HK has its own seat, its a real mess. Taiwan using Mainland manufactured weapons would be a massive scandal to the incumbent party and a bonafide national security risk. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Jan 8, 2022 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ that is why changes to history is required $\endgroup$
    – Faito Dayo
    Jan 8, 2022 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ umm.. how far back? The only way I can see this working is if Chang Hsüeh-liang didn't kidnap Chiang Kaishek to blackmail him into agreeing the ceasefire with CCP (which resulted in CCP backstabbing KMT as soon as Japan surrendered), crush the CCP and maintain ROC control over the mainland. This would be a prett dramatic change in history and its questionable whether or not they can hold the frontier as well or how much territory they end up retreating from until the Japanese surrender. There's no chance of satisfying the parameters you set with an independent Taiwan scenario. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Jan 8, 2022 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ Even if Chiang Kai-shek didn't walk out of UN and declare "there will always be only one China" when the UN decided to recognize PRC for the UN seat for China. Chiang Kai-Shek would have to essentially agree to the US and UK proposal of being a newly recognized puppet state for the independent UN seat. Taiwan would likely have massive unrest within high levels of the government with this move, the CIA assassination of Chiang succeeds and they install Sun Li-Jen as president, then China and Taiwan become ground zero for US-USSR proxy war, so there's no way for friendly relations. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Jan 8, 2022 at 7:38
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    $\begingroup$ Do the weapons have to have been sold directly by the PRC, or could the ROC have bought them from a third party? $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Jan 8, 2022 at 8:06

5 Answers 5

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America First.

map minus the us

https://dabrownstein.com/2016/12/05/mapping-the-new-isolationism/

The very America First doctrine that catapulted Trump to the White House stands, for all its championing of national self-interest, to be best embodied by the removal of the United States from its role on the global geopolitical map. And the removal of the United States and England–achieved through the striking success of go-it-alone political parties in both nations–seems to show just how outdated a five-color map is to describe the world.

The US government is isolationist. Political leaders in the US are willfully ignorant and that is considered desirable by the electorate that put them there. The political leaders in power are extremely reluctant to support non-American foreign entities with money or supplies because they are foreigners. "Allies" are treated coolly and problems that do not involve American territory are considered someone else's problems. Such problems often do not even make the radar at the highest levels of the US government. Problems off the coast of China fall into this category.

Career diplomats in the US carry on as best they can with foreign policy goals and world views carried over from earlier and more globally minded administrations. These persons are aware of the threat from the GLA and have a nuanced sense of the relationship with China. The "deep state" in the US is trying to keep things from getting out of control while hoping for eventual regime change in the US.

These career diplomats and their counterparts in China are aware that a strong Chinese military presence in the Pacific would be noticed even by the current US political leaders. Both sides are worried about a hamhanded, disproportionate military or diplomatic response by the US.

Taiwan however is considered an ally. Taiwanese military ventures in the Pacific would not be noticed by US political leaders or if noticed, dismissed. The Taiwanese are willing but undersupplied. With the US political climate there is not a good way to get American armaments and money to them or anyone else.

The Chinese understand the gravity of the situation. They are willing to arm the Taiwanese on the sly. They are not going to make a big deal about it. They might even use a proxy brand based in India or Singapore. The Taiwanese also understand what is up. Internecine strife with the Chinese can be set aside to face the existential threat that is the GLA.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a much cleaner and feasible solution for the scenario. One might argue that an isolated US would be weaker especially against a global threat, but that's not a paremeter defined by the question. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Jan 8, 2022 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ In the game, US returning to isolation happens after US forces engages GLA in Middle East, initially victorious, then suffers humiliating defeats in Florida and EU. So what you say is having US returning to isolation sooner, right? $\endgroup$
    – Faito Dayo
    Jan 9, 2022 at 0:20
  • $\begingroup$ An isolationist US would probably not have taken on foes in the middle east in the first place - so ... yes? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jan 9, 2022 at 0:49
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They are Friends

Taiwan is officially part of China (according to China that is). Unofficially the countries are separate but allied. The motivation behind China not conquering Taiwan is

(a) We can do it whenever we want because we are much bigger and stronger than them. There is no need to conquer now and we'd rather save the expense.

(b) A lot of our wealthy citizens have holiday homes in Taiwan where they take advantage of the increased freedoms. Thus Taiwan is a convenient way of keeping seditious behaviour off the mainland and prevent it from spreading from the upper to the lower classes.

Conquering would be a big inconvenience to us as it would upset some of our more powerful citizens. We not only have to conquer the island, but also root out and deal with dissenters across all of the mainland.

(c) We want to present not conquering as OUR DECISION. So being an ally is the best narrative.

The Taiwanese use Chinese weapons because they are the easiest to get. In fact these weapons are provided at a slashed rate, to make Taiwan dependent on the mainland for military stuff.

The fact they use Chinese weapons is made very clear to the other superpowers, as this makes it harder to seek aid from the other weapon manufacturing countries.

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  • $\begingroup$ This answer only touches on China's motivation and broadly speaking this is already the case in the current political climate. There is no way Taiwan would be willing to do this without significant change. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Jan 8, 2022 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ @BeyondDisbelief I think the level of detail in the answer is similar to the detail in the question. If it is already broadly accurate then, broadly speaking, it is not a huge ask for Chinese military equipment in Taiwan. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jan 8, 2022 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ @BeyondDisbelief Where do the Taiwanese get their guns in real life? $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jan 8, 2022 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ 1) Over 80% of Taiwan are "Taiwanese" who were Chinese and migrated to Taiwan 300+ years ago. Vast majority of them, especially the young generation no longer culturally identify as Chinese just like Americans today wouldn't identify as British. The term "sedition" would only be used by Mainlanders. Taiwan has de facto independence and its own government. Cultural tensions are so high that sometimes Waishengren are sometimes lumped with Mainlander (some Benshengren descendents abroad don't even try to distinguish them). 2) They buy outdated equipment like the F-16 from the US. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Jan 8, 2022 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ @BeyondDisbelief So they buy from America, thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jan 8, 2022 at 16:44
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You've already made enough change to make it happen.

In our timeline, Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT was the leader of Taiwan from 2008-2016. Cross-straits relations improved greatly during his time in office.

If you add in an ongoing major global terrorism threat against China, the US, and more, the focus would shift away from local disputes and US-China political rivalries towards improved security. Depending on when the terrorism began and how bad it was, reunification talks could easily have been well underway by 2015.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Reunification talks" under Ma Ying-jeou are about as likely as Biden abolishing capitalism. Only fringe media not unlike Infowars would push that idea. Ma Ying-jeou's major move re: China was 1992 Consensus was to maintain the "One China" status-quo, not reuinfication. Neither side make moves or push political narratives to disturb that status quo, allow room for ambiguity and each side have their own interpretation, improve relations and open up trade. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Jan 8, 2022 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ Neither the "blue" conservative KMTs nor "green" DPP would tolerate PRC military equipment to fill up Taiwanese military. It was as recent as 2015 that Hung Hsiu-Chu reaffirmed that all of China belongs to the ROC under their constitution. If Taiwan imported Chinese military equipment, then a much wider civil unrest worse than the Sunflower Student Movement of 2014 would happen, perhaps total destabilization if "reuinfication talks" existed. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Jan 8, 2022 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ A lot of "politically impossible” things happened in America after 9-11. Imagine large incidents like that happening at various locations around the world before deciding what political and military changes are unlikely or intolerable. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2022 at 4:42
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    $\begingroup$ If we are to take into consideration of the GLA group making attacks against USA and China set by the question, given the premise of the GLA is in direct confrontation with China, and Taiwanese public Anti-China sentiment being demonstrably strong evidenced by the 2014 Sunflower Movement and overwhelming support for the DPP evidenced by the 2016 election results, a 2015 Taiwan is more likely to cheer on any threat towards China than to come to its aid. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Jan 9, 2022 at 5:24
  • $\begingroup$ @BeyondDisbelief - Without knowledge of the GLAs long term goals, there is no way to be sure if they will view Taiwan as an easily targetted piece of China or not. One major GLA incident inside Taiwan before 2015 would completely change the political landscape more than enough to make Chinese military hardware purchases reasonable. China has been Taiwan's #1 import and export partner for quite some time. See the graphs in figures 1 and 2 here: brookings.edu/opinions/… $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2022 at 6:27
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Li became the ruler of China in 2012, not Xi.

Li is an economics minded communist who wants to improve internal production and economics. He wants to improve production in China, gain independence from America, and deal with bureaucracy. He's a member of the factions of the groundroot communists who didn't have a rich background, and is more concerned with China.

Xi Jinping is a princling, a rich and well connected member of China's noble faction, son of a powerful revolutionary, and well connected. He seeks to restore China's glory through bloodshed and war and purge anyone disloyal to him or his faction of noble communists who inherited their positions.

Xi won dominion over China due to his deeper connections with other princlings of China and the military in 2012. Just change that and China would likely have much better relationships with its neighbors. Have Xi die or be injured, and have Li step up to rule.

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Okay, much of this has to rely on a lot of speculative/semi-conspiracy theories of the time (but what "what-if" scenario doesn't).

The most challenging parameters you have set are:

  1. Taiwan is de-facto independent, but de-jure part of China, just like today.
  2. Taiwan has sufficiently amicable relations with China to import military equipment from China, despite having an independent government.

These are very conflicting requirements but I think there's a way to work this out.

First of all, we have to understand the relationship between KMT and CCP. While Dr. Sun Yat-Sen was still alive, the CCP was a recognized political party within ROC. Many Chinese elites of those times studied both philosophies and many of them were colleagues and have close personal ties. For a lot of them, there was no reason at the time to believe "Communism" was inherently evil, bad, or that it wouldn't work. Both the KMT and CCP were broadly committed bring power to the people and rebuilding China after the successful overthrow of Qing dynasty in 1911.

Just because the Qing Empire was toppled doesn't solve a lot of inherent issues of China overnight. Local warlords, the norm of various corruption in society, these don't go away. KMT inherited a lot of these problems and the wealthy class remain wealthy, so it was very normal that Marxist ideals had its appeal. It was only after Sun Yat-sen died (1925) that Chiang Kai-Shek tried to purge the communists (1927).

Many of Chiang's closest advisors and generals, were sympathetic to the CCP despite remaining loyal to KMT. This includes Chang Hsüeh-liang who kidnaped Chiang to force a ceasefire with CCP and united front against Japan, and the war hero Sun Li-jen

Sun Li-jen was viewed very positively by the US and it was rumored that he would be a prime candidate for being installed as a puppet president. He's idealistic but naive. As Chiang Kai-shek once said of him, Sun Li-jen is good at fighting battles, but he's no good at winning wars. He's not much of a politician.and probably not great at managing international relations.

First, Chiang Kai-shek needs to die, and most probably taking place after Chiang Kai-shek walked away from the UN in 1971 refusing US/UK's offer of being recognized as a new country (i.e. puppet state). His death would likely be due a successful CIA-assassination attempt. After that, the US political machine drums up Sun Li-jen's war hero status and install him as president of Taiwan.

However, this alone is not enough. While Sun Li-jen never sees the CCP as the enemy, he simply lacks the political saavy. However, what he would likely do among his first acts as president, would be to pardon Chang Hsüeh-liang from house arrest, who would have the seniority and history to be his advisor. Both Sun Li-jen (b. 1900, d. 1990) and Chiang Hsüeh-liang (b. 1901, d. 2001) would seek to improve relations with the CCP, upholding the pan-Chinese identity. Chang would probably have the political backbone and wit to tell the US to backoff while simultaneously keep the naive Sun safe from assination when the US realized their puppet is not much of a puppet.

Under Sun Li-jen, travel bans and other cross-straight restrictions would probably be relaxed a lot sooner than 1987, possibly not long after 1976 after the cultural revolution ended. This would significantly improve morale of the Waishengren who retreated/immigrated along with the KMT army from the mainland, families reunited, etc. etc. Since China hasn't build up its economy and educated class, but with improved relations with Taiwan, Taiwan would take the lead in a lot of initiatives. Today's economic environment would be VERY different as most of the Mainland's private enterprises would probably actually be owned by Taiwan, and Taiwain maintains its status as the envy of the Mainland (which today is only an outdated story Taiwanese tell themselves).

However, if Sun Li-jen became president, that does not bode well for the Benshengren. Although Sun Li-jen has objected to Chiang being authoritarian, I believe Sun is more likely to uphold a pan-Chinese identity that see's Mainlanders, Waishengren, Benshengren (Taiwanese colonial-nativists who migrated from China 300 years ago) all as one people, while Benshengren a promoting a "Taiwanese" identity. If Sun Li-jen became president, I'm not sure Chiang Ching-kuo would succeed him. If Chiang Ching Kuo did not become president, many of his policies intended to be more inclusive and support Benshrengren (despite their blames and hatred of KMT) would not come to pass, and Li Teng-hui who truly catapulted Benshengren representation in politics (and paved way for the first DPP president to get elected) would not have became president. Taiwan in this alternate universe would actually be genuinely "Pro-China", though it may not necessarily have the same negative connotations today as Taiwan would take economic lead in this world.

With all that setup, private enterprises would be dominated by Taiwan, but China would have the industrial base to supply Taiwan with military equipment, which they will need to use as earlier refusal to be puppeted by the US means the US would not supply Taiwan with weapons.

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