Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Taiwan: China's Finger is on the Pulse, Not the Trigger

Despite the balance of power having shifted in China's favour, Beijing's list of options to coerce Taiwan is rather limited 

With the prospects of victory by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan's January 16, 2016, elections becoming increasingly solid, several academics have been warning of the likelihood of renewed tensions in the Taiwan Strait as Beijing reacts angrily to the perceived abandonment of cross-strait detente. 

Writing in The Age on October 27, Hugh White issued such a warning, which in my opinion rests on twin false assumptions about decision-making in Beijing and the resilience of the Taiwanese. 

White and I have been debating the possible ramifications of a transition of power in Taiwan and how the international community might/should adjust. Through his Realist lens, White has been pessimistic about Taiwan's ability to resist China and has argued that the international community might not be inclined to risk its relationship with Beijing — let alone nuclear war — to defend the democratic island-nation. 

My article, published today in The Age, continues here (Photo: Chris Tzou)

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