Abstract

After decades of tension, relations between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan have improved dramatically in recent years. How durable is this détente? To what degree is armed conflict in the Taiwan Strait a continued possibility? Answering these questions requires grappling with the impact of several different trends in cross–Taiwan Strait relations, including a rapidly shifting balance of military power, deepening China-Taiwan economic integration, and changing Taiwanese views on sovereignty and identity issues. Taken together, these trends help to stabilize the cross-strait relationship. Nevertheless, this relationship has not been fundamentally transformed, and future trends could evolve in a way that again increases the danger of military conflict. In particular, a changing balance of military power in the Taiwan Strait has the potential to be highly destabilizing if it overtakes other trends such as economic integration.

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