Beijing is flexing its military power in response to growing U.S. support for the island; here’s a primer on the frictions

Chinese state media videos and a map of live-fire exercises around Taiwan have displayed Beijing’s strategy to impose an aerial and maritime blockade on the island. Here’s how China could threaten both Taiwan and global trade in case of a military conflict. Illustration: CCTV

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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