Under the shadow of a rising great power

Article Highlights

  • Rising grass-roots nationalism in China could cause the country to target Taiwan in its foreign policy.

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  • Taiwan remains a vital national security concern for China.

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  • Although China and Taiwan signed a free trade agreement in 2012, China somewhat loosened its grip on Taiwan's international space.

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This paper was prepared for Taiwan’s Future in the Asian Century: Toward a Strong, Prosperous and Enduring Democracy Conference, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC, November 10, 2011.

Introduction

Under the shadow of a rising great power

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As studies of international diplomatic history have shown, the rise of a great power has always cast a long shadow over the international scene. China is now a rising great power. All of its Asian neighbors—from South Korea to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), from India to Australia, and even across the Pacific to the United States—must adjust their foreign policies to accommodate China’s rise. Taiwan is no exception, due to its status as the most important territorial and sovereignty issue for China. In this paper, I will briefly describe cross-Strait relations under Taiwan’s Ma administration, and then analyze Taiwan’s military and economic security. To conclude, I will add my own speculations on possible future developments across the Taiwan Strait.

Szu-yin Ho (sho@nccu.edu.tw) is a professor of political science at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. The author served in the Ma administration from 2008 to 2010. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s. The views do not necessarily reflect the views held by the administration.

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