Taiwan's dilemma the United States, and reunification
Kessler, Eric von.
Miller, Alice L.
Olsen, Edward A.
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The Taiwan issue is a source of possible conflict between Taiwan, the People's Republic of China, and the United States. While China and Taiwan relations have strengthened, the prospect of reunification remains uncertain. Although China promotes peaceful unification of all of its claimed territory, the military's focus is on Taiwan. Conversely, Taiwan authorities rebuke unification, relying on the United States for arms and support. Throughout the dilemma the United States has played a pivotal role. Its policy of strategic ambiguity created an adverse effect. U.S. military sales to Taiwan formed dependency, requiring China to modernize its military to maintain legitimacy. Proving its commitment of reclaiming Taiwan, Beijing positioned significant weaponry across from Taiwan, ensuring tensions remain. As arms sales continue, the odds of conflict grow. Resolution, whether obtained through peace or violence, generates significantly different strategic policy for all parties. Dialogue between Beijing and Taipei may alter the outcome. As talks progress, the United States must encourage peace, thereby avoiding a miscommunication leading to war. This thesis focuses on two central questions. First, how do U.S. arms sales to Taiwan affect Taipei's perception towards reunification? Second, do U.S. arms sales compel China to accelerate its military modernization? The answers may help to develop policies which normalize the relationship between China and Taiwan and minimize the role of the United States.
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