Armed Diplomacy (1996)
China had nearly gone to war with the United States over Taiwan in 1996. Tensions were high as the movement to proclaim Taiwanese independence from the mainland had gained steam due to legislative elections in 1995, and then a Taiwanese presidential election in March 1996 that would choose a new president by popular vote. China and the United States both used visual demonstrations of military force that further escalated the situation. China responded directly to the presidential visit by conducting ballistic missile tests just eighty five nautical miles north of Taiwan in July 1995 into known international shipping lanes, effectively blockading them, and then followed up with naval exercises just northwest of the missiles’ splash zones. In December 1995 China conducted significant air and amphibious assault exercises timed to coincide with, and intimidate, the Taiwanese Parliamentary Election. The United States responded by sending the USS Nimitz carrier battlegroup through the Straits of Taiwan in a show of force.
Finally in March 1996, the month of elections, China conducted significant air and naval exercises as well as a missile exercises with splash zones fifty nautical from both of Kaohsiung and Keelung, effectively blockading Taiwan’s largest ports. The United states had responded by sending both the Nimitz and Independence battlegroup to show its resolve in defending Taiwan.