What's China's goal?
China and Taiwan -- officially the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, respectively -- separated in 1949 following the Communist victory in a civil war that saw the Nationalists flee to the island. The two sides have been governed separately since, though a shared cultural and linguistic heritage mostly endures -- with Mandarin spoken as the official language in both places. Bringing Taiwan back to the fold has eluded China's Communist leaders for nearly seven decades and would be a huge achievement for President Xi Jinping, who now has the option to rule for life. Nicaraguan students wave Taiwanese flags to welcome three Taiwanese Navy warships at Corinto port, some 149 kilometers northwest of Managua, on April 9, 2018. Nicaragua is one Taiwan's few diplomatic allies. Nicaraguan students wave Taiwanese flags to welcome three Taiwanese Navy warships at Corinto port, some 149 kilometers northwest of Managua, on April 9, 2018. Nicaragua is one Taiwan's few diplomatic allies. Chong-Pin Lin, a former deputy defense minister in Taiwan, said he believes reunification is still a long-term goal for Xi. For now, he says, Beijing is focused on deterring Taiwan from making a declaration of independence -- something that would be a huge embarrassment for Xi. "Beijing is skillful at applying psychological pressure on Taiwan," he says. President Tsai Ing-wen's Democratic Progressive Party has traditionally leaned in favor of formal independence from China, compared to Taiwan's other main political party, the Kuomintang, as the Nationalists are known locally. Although Tsai has been "very prudent" since being elected in 2016 and tried to restrain the more radical wing of her party, says Lin, Beijing may feel that she will look to appeal to her base as mid-term elections near. However, it's not just about the stick for Beijing. China has also been encouraging integration. In February, China's Taiwan Affairs Officer revealed 31 new measures to promote exchange and cooperate with Taipei, many of which make it easier for those from Taiwan to work, do business and study in mainland China, including teachers and doctors.