Academic journal article Parameters

Taiwan's China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan's Cross-Strait Economic Policy

Academic journal article Parameters

Taiwan's China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan's Cross-Strait Economic Policy

Article excerpt

Taiwan's China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan's Cross-Strait Economic Policy

By Syaru Shirley Lin

Reviewed by Dr. Andrew Scobell, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation

The US national security community is accustomed to seeing the word "Taiwan" paired with the term "crisis." Yet, in recent years, the Taiwan Strait has been remarkably calm and largely absent from the headlines. It has been replaced by media attention on other Asia-Pacific flash points, notably the Korean peninsula, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. Syaru Shirley Lin's book contains significant insights enabling readers to understand why the Taiwan Strait has remained largely crisis free for almost a decade.

Continued calm is not assured. Taiwan remains the most likely location for a full-blown military conflict between the United States and the People's Republic of China, even if the degree of tension and probability of a conflagration have both declined significantly. The main reason for this decline is not that China has given up on its pursuit of national unification with the island; on the contrary, Beijing remains staunchly committed to political union with Taipei. As Taiwan's China Dilemma makes clear, political leaders in China have to date exercised considerable patience and exhibited a good measure of pragmatism and flexibility in pursuing this goal. This pragmatism and flexibility have been matched by political leaders in Taiwan. The result--a remarkable expansion of cross-strait economic relations, transportation links, and people-to-people interactions. …

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