Futuribles Journal n° 309


Tensions between China and Taiwan: Brinkmanship, a Tactical Squabble or a Valuable Ambiguity?


Since the end of 2004, when elections brought a party explicitly in favour of independence from China into the governing coalition in Taiwan, the relations between China and Taiwan have regularly been in the news. The commentators are anxious about the growing tension between the two governments and the risks of open conflict.
In this article Rémi Perelman recalls the background and the key phases in the relationship between China and Taiwan. He sets out who the protagonists are and what position each takes, from maintaining the status quo via the threat of invading the island to declaring Taiwan's independence. He also makes clear what support the Taiwanese government might expect, including from abroad - in particular, would the United States really risk conflict with China if matters deteriorate? Finally, Rémi Perelman offers several scenarios for possible developments between 2006 and 2020, stressing nonetheless how little it would be in China's interest, from the point of view of its economic growth, to enter into a period of political upheaval.

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