Will democracy bring peace across the Taiwan Strait?
Greenough, Jenifer M.
Miller, H. Lyman
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The Taiwan question is the most important issue in US-PRC relations. A decision by the PRC to resolve the issue militarily would jeopardize major US interests in the East Asian region. Drawing largely on democratic peace theory, which asserts that democracies do not go to war with one another, some assessments of the Taiwan question argue that peaceful resolution of the reunification issue must rest on the transformation of the PRC's authoritarian political system into a democracy. This belief also has been an implicit premise of the US approach to engagement with the PRC. The US policy of engagement focuses on democratic peace as a panacea for the Taiwan question, assuming that a democratic China will not forcibly reunite Taiwan with the mainland. This thesis questions that assumption and argues that there are solid grounds for suspecting that were the PRC to become a democracy, the Taiwan issue may not be any more amenable to peaceful resolution. Resolution, in fact, may be even more difficult to achieve between two Chinese democracies.
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