Taiwan’s Political Security in an Era of Cross-Strait Detente

  • Lowell Dittmer


Taiwan, a geopolitical flashpoint whose systemic volatility has survived the Cold War intact, has the unenviable distinction of deeming its main trade partner its number one national security threat. After more than a decade of escalating cross-strait polarization fed by growing nationalism on either side of the strait, there has been since the late 2000s a historic rapprochement between Taiwan and Mainland China not glimpsed for nearly two decades. This represents Taiwan’s attempt to redefine security in political-economic rather than strictly military terms, as the Mainland’s growth surge heightens cross-strait power-political asymmetry. To what extent can economic detente, as symbolized by the landmark 2010 Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), compensate for looming asymmetry? The purpose of this chapter is to review the nature of the relationship in the era of détente, focusing on the all-important dimension of political security. After all, the security balance has not yet been altered or even broached in bilateral negotiations, and Taiwan remains vulnerable to the threat of PRC missile attack or even invasion.


Taiwan Issue Legislative Yuan Diplomatic Recognition Strategic Triangle National Security Threat 
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© Peter C. Y. Chow 2012

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  • Lowell Dittmer

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