The future of the Taiwan Strait is more wide open that at any other time in recent decades. Tensions between China and Taiwan have eased since 2008, but the movement toward full rapprochement remains fragile. Whether the two sides of the Strait can sustain and expand a cooperative relationship after decades of mutual distrust and fear is still uncertain.
InUncharted StraitRichard Bush, who specialized in Taiwan issues during almost twenty years in the U.S. government, explains the current state of relations between China and Taiwan. He discusses what led to the current situation and then extrapolates the likely future of cross-Strait relations. Bush also explains America's stake, analyzing possible ramifications for U.S. interests in the critically important East Asia region as well as recommending steps to protect those interests.
Current engagement between Beijing and Taipei increases the likelihood of a peaceful long-term solution to their six-decade dispute. Whether, when, and how that might happen, however, is shrouded in uncertainty. The Taiwan Strait is now uncharted water, and both shores worry about the shoals that may lurk below the surface. China still fears the island's permanent separation, either because it makes an overt move to de jure independence or continues to refuse unification on Beijing's terms. Taiwan fears subordination to an authoritarian regime, an adversary from the past that may not have its best interests at heart. And the United States fears instability in East Asia.
Contents1. Introduction 2. Historical Context 3. Political Context 4. Setting the Analytical Stage 5. Economic Stabilization 6. Political Stabilization 7. Security Stabilization 8. PRC Pressure 9. Ma's Second Term 10. Can Taiwan Strengthen Itself? 11. Implications for the United States
Subjects: Political Science
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