Tensions are rising in the Taiwan Strait. Cross-strait relations have been strained since Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), became president of Taiwan's government in 2016. But they have been exacerbated in recent weeks after a series of military-related incidents and the overall deterioration in relations between the United States, Taiwan's main supporter, and China.

Tsai's refusal to accept the "One China" policy, the framework for relations between Taiwan and China that states that both are part of the same country, infuriates the Beijing government and it has sought to force her to adopt that policy as a result. During the tenure of her predecessor as president, Beijing declared a diplomatic truce and stopped poaching countries that recognized Taiwan. That suspension has ended and now just 17 afford Taipei official diplomatic recognition.

Beijing is also providing economic support to constituencies in Taiwan that challenge Tsai and the DPP or to win over those that backed them in the past. That has earned sharp criticism for interfering in the island's politics — which it is — but it has also been successful.