Can Taiwan survive in the shadow of China?

Taiwanese students wear colourful hats during the national day anniversary in front of the Presidential Palace in Taipei on 10 October 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

In the past decade and a half, despite some ups and downs, economic and then political relations between Taiwan and mainland China have gone from strength to strength. The election of Chen Shui-bian as President of Taiwan in 2000 saw a period in which political relations were tense, even though trade shares multiplied rapidly. Read more…

Taiwan’s shifting political landscape

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou speaking at a campaign rally before Taiwan's local elections. President Ma resigned from his position as chairman of the Kuomingtang soon after the election results were confirmed, leaving the party in chaos. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Fu-Kuo Liu, National Chengchi University

The results of Taiwan’s local elections, held in November, came as a big surprise to many not only in Taiwan. The ruling Kuomingtang (KMT) was defeated by an unprecedented margin. The results were a sharp reversal from those of the 2012 presidential election, won by the KMT. Read more…

Taiwan’s young rise up


Author: Jennifer Chen, Harvard Graduate School of Education

It has been widely argued that the defeat of Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party’s (KMT) in the ‘nine-in-one’ local elections revealed nationwide disillusionment with the government. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won 13 of the 22 cities and counties, and the KMT only managed to retain 6 of the 15 localities that they had previously held. Read more…

KMT stumbling may mean the spectre of Beijing is losing its potency in Taipei

Ko Wen-je, the independent candidate who was elected mayor of Taipei in Taiwan’s local nine-in-one elections, delivers his victory speech after edging Sean Lien, a candidate of the ruling Kuomitang party, 29 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sheryn Lee, ANU

Politically and economically, 2014 proved to be an extremely bad year for President Ma Ying-jeou and his ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party. Economic stagnation and public discontent over worsening social disparities continue to plague Taiwan. Mass demonstrations indicate that Taiwan’s citizens have much more pressing concerns than Taiwan–China relations. Read more…

Taiwan’s Ten Thousand Double-Edged Swords

Two locally made Indigenous Defense Fighters release the flares during a demonstration at Chiang Chin-kuo air foce base in central Taichung on January 13, 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Che-Yu Ou, Waseda University

Procuring the Ten Thousand Swords missile system is a blunder for Taiwan; it aggravates the security dilemma between it and the PRC. For its own security, Taiwan should deter threats from the PRC by manufacturing weapons with exclusively defensive capabilities. Read more…

Australia’s false China choice over Taiwan

Students protesters pass around sunflowers outside the parliament building after they ended an occupy protest over a contentious trade pact with China, in Taipei on 10 April 2014. Protestors are concerned that increasing economic influence from China will undermine Taiwanese democracy. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Paul Dibb, ANU

Arguments currently raging in Australia about the so-called China choice have not addressed the crucial issue about what specific concessions must be made to accommodate a rising China. Instead, debate consists of generalised statements that the US needs to provide China with strategic space by acknowledging its legitimate strategic interests.

China has identified Taiwan, Tibet and, more recently, the South China Sea as core national interests. Read more…

China and Taiwan walking the line of rapprochement

Zhang Zhijun, head of Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, and his Taiwan counterpart Wang Yu-chi pose for media at the start of a meeting in Taoyuan, Taiwan, 25 June 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Justine Doody, Berlin

After more than six decades of conflict over the political status of Taiwan, Beijing and Taipei are taking significant steps toward rapprochement in their relations. Yet how much Chinese influence can Taiwan’s democracy tolerate?

On 25 June 2014, for the first time in over 60 years, China sent a ministerial-level figure on an official visit to Taiwan. Read more…

China–Taiwan history: no textbook answers

Student protesting against a China Taiwan trade agreement sleep on the floor as they occupy the floor of the legislature in Taipei on March 20, 2014.

Author: Edward Vickers, Kyushu University

On 11 February 2014, representatives of the Republic of China (ROC, otherwise known as Taiwan) travelled to Nanjing. There they met officials of the People’s Republic of China for the highest-level bilateral dialogue since the ROC’s Kuomintang regime fled to Taiwan in 1949. The ROC’s former mainland capital is also infamous as the site of the Nanjing Massacre, still a source of acute friction between China and Japan. Read more…

China, Taiwan stuck in the ‘friend zone’ on Pingtan

A man reacts as a wave hits a sea wall at a beach on Pingtan island, Fujian province. Located off the east coast of China's Fujian province, Pingtan island is the country's 5th largest and relies heavily on a tourism-driven economy, although an 'experimental zone' aims to draw in foreign investment from neighboring Taiwan.  (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sheryn Lee, ANU, CSIS

In January, China appointed a Taiwanese citizen, Liang Qianlong, as deputy chief of an experimental ‘common homeland’ for both nations on Pingtan Island.

Beijing aims to transform Pingtan into a special economic zone of industrial cooperation between China and Taiwan. Read more…

For the internet age, Taiwan’s ICT industry needs a new model

A mother and daughter try a new laptop at a major electronics market in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Andy Yee, Hong Kong

Taiwan has long been a world leader in high-tech hardware manufacturing, with roots all the way back to the era of export-oriented industrialisation in the 1960s. Its companies command huge market shares in critical ICT products, ranging from computer chips and smartphones to personal computers. Read more…

Japan and Taiwan ‘stingy’ balancers

Rockets are launched from the Thunderbolt 2000, a Taiwan-made multi-rocket launcher system, during a military drill in western Penghu islands on 17 April, 2013. The Taiwan defence ministry on staged its biggest live-fire military exercise since 2008, aimed at reviewing the island's defence capability against a simulated Chinese invasion. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Daniel Clausen, Fujisawa, Japan

There has been much commentary recently about the hike in Japan’s defence budget. The rise, along with other measures and rhetorical stances taken by the Abe administration, are meant to show Japan’s resolve over disputed territories and to offset China’s growing military capabilities. Read more…

Beijing’s cross-Strait calculus

Chen Deming, right, President of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), receives an embroidery portrait of him as a gift from an official as he visits the Kaohsiung Software Technology Park in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 28 November 2013. The Chinese mainlands chief negotiator Chen Deming visited Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Groups headquarters in New Taipei City on Tuesday 3 December 2013, wrapping up his eight-day tour to Taiwan. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Wen-Ti Sung, ANU

The long-term outlook for Taiwan’s strategic autonomy from Chinese influence may gradually come into question, even though cross-Strait relations should be stable for the foreseeable future. Intensifying dynamics in the Beijing-Taipei-Washington triangle are contributing to this scenario; in particular, the Chinese leadership’s internal consolidation, growing cross-Strait enmeshment, and US attention deficit. Read more…

Taiwan battles economic and cross-Strait tensions in 2013

A customer looks at Christmas decorations for sale at a local store in Taipei on December 18, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sheryn Lee, University of Pennsylvania

In 2013, Taiwan’s political and economic developments again centred on its relationship with China, and the effect of cross-Strait rapprochement on Taiwan’s domestic conditions. Yet even without China as a factor, Taiwan would still face significant challenges. Read more…