Last month, China adopted new civilian aircraft flight paths over the Taiwan Strait, near Taiwan-controlled islands, without consulting Taiwan’s government. Several months earlier, Beijing began dispatching military aircraft to circumnavigate Taiwan. In 2017, China sent its aircraft carrier through the Strait en route to missions in the South China Sea. These actions have raised alarm in Taiwan. They have increased friction over security-related issues in a cross-Strait relationship already strained by other developments initiated by Beijing since Tsai Ing-wen became president in Taiwan, including suspension of Taiwan’s participation in the annual World Health Assembly meeting, shifts in diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing by two of the small cohort of states with formal relations with Taiwan, and the extradition of Taiwanese criminal suspects to the Mainland, rather than Taiwan.
What do the most recent developments reveal about the state of cross-Strait relations? What do they portend for the future? What are the implications for regional security and U.S. policy?
Jacques deLisle is Director of FPRI’s Asia Program, Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science, Director of the Center for East Asian Studies and Deputy Directory of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at the University of Pennsylvania. He specializes in Chinese politics and legal reform, U.S-China relations, cross-strait relations, and China’s engagement with the international legal order.
Scott L. Kastner is a Professor in the Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park. He is author of Political Conflict and Economic Interdependence across the Taiwan Strait and Beyond (Stanford University Press, 2009), and co-editor (with Ming-Chin Monique Chu) of Globalization and Security Relations across the Taiwan Strait: In the Shadow of China (Routledge, 2015).
Wojtek Wolfe is a Senior Fellow with FPRI’s Program on National Security, and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers-Camden University. His current research programs focus on multiple areas including US foreign policy, US-China relations, and energy security issues. He is the author of Winning the War of Words: Selling the War on Terror from Afghanistan to Iraq.
Thomas J. Shattuck is the Editor of Geopoliticus: The FPRI Blog, the Assistant Editor of Orbis: FPRI’s Journal of World Affairs, and a Research Associate at FPRI. He has published on China-Taiwan issues in the Washington Post, The National Interest, Taipei Times, and al-Majalla. He received his MA in International Studies from National Chengchi University in 2016. Thomas also received a Fulbright grant to teach English in Kinmen, Taiwan for the 2013-14 academic year.
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