Taiwan split from mainland China amid civil war in 1949, and Beijing, which considers Taiwan its territory, campaigns relentlessly to isolate the island globally. It cut off relations with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s government shortly after she took office in 2016 and has been steadily ratcheting up both diplomatic and economic pressure.
While the United States formally recognizes only China, it remains a close Taiwanese ally and maintains a de facto embassy in the island’s capital, Taipei. Last week, the U.S. recalled its envoys to three Central American nations for consultations after those governments cut ties with Taiwan in favor of diplomatic relations with China.
Taiwan is recognized as a sovereign nation by only 17 mainly small, developing countries.
Last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation that would punish countries that choose to drop diplomatic recognition of Taiwan to please Beijing.