Taiwan: Nation-State or Province?

By John F. Copper | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Since the publication of the second edition of this book three years ago, much has happened in Taiwan. Yet fundamental questions remain: No one knows whether Taiwan will retain sovereignty as the Republic of China, will evolve into a new nation-state with a new name, or will become a province of the People's Republic of China. Taiwan's relationship with the People's Republic of China has changed but, if anything, has grown more complex and in many respects more uncertain.

In 1996, the issue of Taiwan's status caused the Taiwan Strait to become the foremost, most serious flashpoint in the world when the Chinese People's Liberation Army conducted threatening missile tests with live warheads near Taiwan's major ports. The United States dispatched two aircraft carriers, each accompanied by a flotilla of ships, in what turned out to be a sobering Washington- Beijing face-off and the largest show of military forces in the region since the Vietnam War. There were even threats of the use of nuclear weapons.

Beijing was angry over President Lee Teng-hui's efforts to promote Taiwan's international status, especially his visit to the United States in 1995, and considered him an advocate of independence. Chinese leaders in the People's Republic of China were also incensed that Taiwan was holding a direct presidential election. The first such election in 5,000 years of Chinese history, it put Taiwan on the map and offered irrefutable proof in the eyes of much of the world, including the Western media, that Taiwan was indeed a democracy.

In 1997, Hong Kong reverted to China. Beijing promoted its formula--"one country, two systems"--for the return of Taiwan. Taipei, however, pointed out that, unlike Hong Kong, the Republic of China was not a colony and was not economically dependent upon China. It also had a strong military and possessed sovereignty. It continued to applaud the idea of one China, or at least the ruling Nationalist Party did, but advocated the status quo until China democratized.

Taiwan's increasing investment in and trade with China, however, seemed to promote widely the idea of a Greater China Federation. So did the development of regional blocs in the world and the realization that Taiwan and China were in the same bloc. China's democratization, however, seemed so slow that the economic forces of integration were way ahead of political convergence.

The United States remained the most important variable in the China-Taiwan issue. But its concerns and views changed. Beginning in 1992, Washington began to provide Taiwan with more arms, including F-16 fighter planes. The United States sought to keep a balance of forces in the Taiwan Strait in view of China's


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Taiwan: Nation-State or Province?


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 234

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?