China's threat to Taiwan


On 1 May 1991, Lee Teng-hui, the president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), proclaimed the termination of the ‘Period of Mobilization for the Suppression of Communist Rebellion’, formally ending Taiwan’s forty-year-long state of war with the People’s Republic of China. Taipei has also acknowledged the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) de facto rule over mainland China, and it no longer refers to the party as a rebellious group of ‘bandits’. Perhaps equally significant, recent years have witnessed an explosion in economic relations between the two Chinas. Bilateral trade has surged to nearly $4bn per year and Taiwanese investment in the mainland has climbed to over $2bn. Is the Cold War between Taiwan and China over? Is the likelihood of conflict across the Taiwan Strait diminishing? This paper will assess China’s threat to Taiwan. It will discuss the conditions under which China might employ force to resolve the unification issue, and examine those factors which may increase or decrease Beijing’s threat to Taiwan. While the possibility of conflict still exists, a conjunction of several long-term trends is combining to lessen mainland China’s security threat to Taiwan. © 1992 Oxford university press.


Political Science

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Pacific Review