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Destined for Change: China, Taiwan, and the Future of the Cross Strait Status Quo

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Technical Report

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National Security Affairs Department, U.S. Naval War College Newport United States

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Seven decades after its separation with Taiwan, Chinas motivations for reunion are as pronounced as ever. Dating back to the end of the Chinese Civil War and then codified in the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, de facto diplomatic relations between the United States and Taiwan have denied the Peoples Republic of China PRC the unification with Taiwan it deeply desires. Chinas motivations for reunification with Taiwan drive critical questions that policy practitioners must carefully consider when assessing future stability in the region what are Chinas most pressing motivations in pursuing reunification with Taiwan and how might these factors drive change to the status quo Three primary factors characterize Chinas motivation for reunification. First, Chinas intense nationalistic desire to right the wrongs of its Century of Humiliation thrust the nation towards unification to close a bitter chapter in Chinas long and storied history. Second, Taiwans increasingly pro-independence posture undermines the notion of One China and drives an urgency among Chinese leaders who believe that the longer this fractured co-existence endures the more difficult it will be to reunify. Third, classical realist calculations of power to be gained through reunification influence Chinas security instincts as it looks to bolster its position as the dominant actor in the region.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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