[ELI5] How was the Republic of China able to hold onto the Fuchien Province without the People’s Republic taking them over?


They are so much closer to the mainland

In: 4

Because they are islands that are heavily defended so capturing them is hard and costly and requires naval and air resources, this was not the strength of PRC when there was an armed conflict with ROC

In 1950s there is [First_Taiwan_Strait_Crisis](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Taiwan_Strait_Crisis) in 1955 and [Second_Taiwan_Strait_Crisis](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Taiwan_Strait_Crisis) 1958 with fighting around the island and PRC take control of a few smaller islands. During the second there was one attempted PRC affairs landing where the troops were repelled.

Because they are islands you need to be shipped to transport troops and equipment, and airplanes are efficient against ships. The result is the naval and air power of the countries is very important. PRC and ROC air and naval forces were a lot closer in capability and size compared to ground forces in the 1950 so the fight was relatively even.

US is also involved. You have to remember ROC forces were involved in the Korean War and there was direct combat between the US and other UN troops. The ceasefire was in 1953. ROC also did not have a nuclear weapon, the first tt as in 1965 but the US. The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff did recommend usage of them against ROC during the first crisis but Eisenhower did not like the idea. This is only 10 years after the nuclear attack on Japan. The first crises end in part because it look like US was going to intervene.

During the second crisis, US Navy escorted supplied convoys to the island and ROC did not attack the to avoid US from entering the water. US also supplies Sidewinder air-to-air missiles to ROC that could e used in fighter jets. That might not sound that important today but these are the first air-to-air missiles used to shoot down enemy airplanes. The losses during the conflict are 31 PRC vs 2 ROC. So the crisis ended with a ceasefire and a return to the situation as it existed before the war.

There has been intermittent shelling around the islands until 1979. It looks like one side fired on even day and the other on odd days. The troops of the other side could hide in bunkers and any risk of escalation could be avoided.

PRC has never tried to capture the isnads after that. They likely could do that today with a lot better and larger air and naval units. The likely explanation for why it has not been done is that PRC considers a more peaceful relationship with ROC and US better fore then compared to the capture of a few small islands.

It might be the strategy is to hope for peaceful unification or to build up the military capability to capture all of ROC at once. Just capturing a few islands would not really help them to do this but you would likely see a lot more military investment and support to ROC that make capturing all of it harder.