A Relationship Transformed: Rethinking the Prospects for Conflict and Peace in the Taiwan Strait

Scott L Kastner, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, University of Maryland, College Park

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After long being viewed as potential flashpoint, relations across the Taiwan Strait have stabilized tremendously in recent years, reflecting moderation in the approaches both Beijing and Taipei have taken with regard to the cross-Strait sovereignty dispute. In my presentation, I consider whether this new-found stability in the Taiwan Strait is likely to persist. In particular, I consider how fundamental trends in cross-Strait relations—such as rapidly growing Chinese military power and deepening cross-Strait economic exchange—are affecting the likelihood that the conflict scenarios which worried analysts prior to the current détente will re-emerge as future concerns. My analysis suggests that the relationship across the Taiwan Strait is likely to be more stable in the years ahead than was the case in the years preceding 2008; this conclusion holds even if there is a change in ruling party in Taiwan. But I also emphasize that the cross-Strait relationship has not been fundamentally transformed, and that the potential for serious conflict remains.

Friday, February 07, 2014 | 12:00 pm — 1:30 pm
Oksenberg Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor

Democracy in Taiwan Project
Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL)