While similarities exist — Taiwan is a democracy that has resisted threats from a more powerful authoritarian government — the differences are much greater. For many on the island, the war in Ukraine, and war in general, feels far away.
“I think our situation is not very similar to Ukraine’s, whether it’s political or in terms of connections,” said Ethan Lin, a 40-year-old who works in the service industry. “China has many exchanges with Taiwan in several areas, so I don’t think it’s that dangerous.”
Taiwan, an island of 23 million people about 160 kilometers (100 miles) off China’s eastern coast, is self-ruled, but claimed by China. The decades-old issue has grown more intense since independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen took the helm in Taiwan in 2016, and China stepped up military pressure on the island, sending ships into nearby waters and fighter jets in its direction.
On Tuesday, China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Command announced it had recently conducted landing drills in an undisclosed location in the East China Sea.
The critical question for Taiwan is whether the United States, which is not sending troops to defend Ukraine, would intervene if China invaded. The U.S. has no official ties with Taiwan but has historical relations and…