TAIWANESE NATIONAL IDENTITY, CROSS-STRAIT ECONOMIC RELATIONS, AND THE THREAT OF THE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY: EXAMINING TAIWAN'S RELATIONS WITH MAINLAND CHINA SINCE 2000
Meyskens, Covell F.
Twomey, Christopher P.
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This thesis examines the impacts of national identity, cross-strait economic relations, and the security threat of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Taiwan's relationship with mainland China since 2000. Analyzing primary sources and academic analyses on both the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administrations, this thesis argues that Taiwan's national identity has moderated its political elites to implement policies that would otherwise excessively challenge Taiwan's de facto sovereignty status. From an economic standpoint, Taiwan has shown to consistently establish close economic ties with the mainland to bolster its prospects in the global market. On the role of national security, the island has steadily refined its defense strategy and invested in its military to contest the expanding security threat from the PLA. In observation of these findings, this thesis predicts that in the near term, Taiwan's two main opposing political parties, the KMT and the DPP, will both increasingly adopt a centrist view toward its mainland policies, asserting its de facto sovereignty status and continuing to resist the mainland's pressure for unification. Based on past trends, Taiwan will likely continue to maintain its economic ties with the mainland and remain committed to its national defense in order to deter and defend against the PLA.
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