Written by Scott L. Kastner. relationship has become dramatically more antagonistic since 2016. Since taking office in that year, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has been less willing to accommodate the PRC on core sovereignty issues than was her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou. Beijing, in turn, has steadily increased coercive pressure on the island. Most notably, PRC military activities near Taiwan have increased sharply over the past few years.
Written by Christine Penninga-Lin. For years Taiwan and its people live in a bizarre universe; the situation of the Taiwan strait and the Chinese escalation of military threat on Taiwan have made it a regular on the potential conflict outbreak point chart. But anyone who’s visited Taiwan in the recent two decades would hardly conclude their stay in Taiwan as unsafe or that the country is socially unstable.
Written by Dean P. Chen. In response to Beijing’s escalating coercive campaigns and military harassments of Taiwan, the Biden administration has primarily followed the Trump government’s pro-Taiwan stance. The U.S. State Department, in a statement on January 23, 2021, calling out China to “cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan,” reaffirmed that the U.S. commitment to Taiwan is “rock solid.”
Written by Jacques deLisle. The Economist recently declared Taiwan “the most dangerous place on earth.” Indeed, it seems that although there have been the crises in the 1950s (when China’s military targeted offshore islands controlled by Taiwan), and also the missile crisis of the mid-1990s—when Beijing sought to deter Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui and Taiwanese voters from “pro-independence” moves—Taiwan again has become a focal point of potential conflict between the United States and China. The circumstances and, therefore, the dangers, however, are different than they were a quarter-century ago or during the early days of the Cold War.
Written by T.Y. Wang. Taiwan Strait has been widely viewed as a dangerous flashpoint for conflict. The popular Economist magazine recently characterised it as “the most dangerous place on earth” that could lead to a direct military conflict between the United States and China. During the past several decades, Washington’s policy of strategic ambiguity has worked remarkably well for maintaining peace and stability between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. A debate is underway if Washington should change its long-standing ambiguous approach by making a more explicit commitment to Taiwan security. Why is there a call for clarity? What is the logic behind Washington’s policy of strategic ambiguity? And is there a need for adjustment?
Written by Douglas Paal. In the early 1970s, I studied in Tokyo during the first OPEC-generated energy crisis. Against all prevailing common anxiety about the long-term shortage of energy, The Economist published a cover story entitled “The Coming Oil Glut,” which correctly predicted that demand would induce increased supply. It did. I was duly impressed.
Written by Shih Yueh Yang. Is Taiwan the Most Dangerous Place on Earth? Not yet, as the Economist has put it. Although the tension between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait has grown, not a single shot has ever been fired. In contrast, thousands of rockets have already exploded over Gaza/Israel border, and hundreds of people have died. Taiwan still enjoys peace and happiness either in relative or absolute terms.
Written by Corey Lee Bell and Harley Centner. Recent months have witnessed growing consternation among Western officials that a conflict across the Taiwan Strait is not only likely but relatively imminent. In early March, Admiral Philip Davidson, the Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), told a U.S. Senate armed services committee meeting that “the threat [of China taking Taiwan] is manifest during this decade, in fact, in the next six years.” Backing this up, his successor, U.S. Admiral John Aquilino, testified at his nomination hearing in late March that “this problem is much closer to us than most think.”
Written by Raian Hossain. Tensions over cross-strait relations and the United States’ (US) involvement are not a new phenomenon. The problem remains unresolved as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims that the Republic of China (ROC) is a breakaway mainland province. However, about 64 per cent of Taiwan’s population perceives themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese despite the absence of any official call for independence. Even though the US officially performs under the one-China policy, it has continued to ensure the existence of the ROC separately for over 50 years.
Written by J. Michael Cole. A recent cover story in The Economist referring to the Taiwan Strait as “the most dangerous place on earth” has caused mixed reactions in Taiwan and elsewhere. While the headline was certainly alarmist—one can imagine more dangerous places than Taiwan to be in, from Yemen to Afghanistan, Somalia to some neighbourhoods in Mexico, for example—the article nevertheless reflects the reality that no other geopolitical flashpoint today is as likely to spark major armed conflict than the Taiwan Strait. China has shown much greater hostility in the past year.
Written by Robert Sutter. The Biden administration continues the Trump government’s remarkable advances with Taiwan despite China’s objections. Thus high-level US government rebukes Beijing military countermeasures, including repeated warship passages in the Taiwan Strait and Chinese air and naval shows of force attempting to intimidate Taiwan. An extraordinary visit to Taiwan in April by a delegation of top policymakers in the Barack Obama and George W Bush administrations …
Written by Brian Hioe. An article in the May issue of The Economist caused strong reactions in Taiwan due to referring to Taiwan as “the most dangerous place on Earth.” In particular, the article cited the geopolitical risks to Taiwan–of being caught between great power competition between the US and China and facing the threat of Chinese invasion–as making Taiwan “the most dangerous place on Earth.”