The Jamestown Foundation is proud to present a special issue of China Brief that is focused on the foreign, economic and security policies of Taiwan. Denny Roy leads off by analyzing the growing interest among Taiwan’s strategic thinkers in the development of offensive land-attack missiles as a form of deterrence against China’s massive arsenal of ballistic missiles. While such a strategy, from a purely military perspective, may discourage Beijing from embarking upon adventures, Dr. Roy states that the strategy could backfire and weaken U.S.-Taiwan relations as well as destabilize the Taiwan Strait. Turning to the economic dimensions of cross-Strait relations, Terry Cooke examines the current health of the Taiwanese economy and points out that Taipei’s current economic policies—stemming from political disruption and aimed at assuaging the insecurities of its voting base—harm Taiwan’s long-term economic interests. Rather than restricting cross-Strait economic links, Dr. Cooke argues, Taiwan should utilize its economic complementarity to China’s rapidly growing economy and take advantage of “China’s emergence as a regional super-economy.”
While Taiwan’s economy may in fact benefit from China’s economic growth, I-Chung Lai contends that there has also been a downside to Beijing’s rising economic and political influence: the loss of several of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. With this in mind, Dr. Lai assesses Taiwan’s current strategy toward procuring and maintaining allies before insisting that Taiwan must reconsider its existing policies if it is at all concerned with the erosion of its influence in the international arena. Rounding out this special issue is Chris Griffin, who details Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou’s recent visit to Japan. After much probing, Mr. Griffin reveals the true state of Ma’s relations with the Japanese leadership and divulges a startling find regarding Ma’s supposed heart-to-heart discussion with then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe.
As you may have noticed, China Brief has undergone a few changes in the past months: a return to its four-article format and the addition of a new column, “In a Fortnight.” We are pleased to announce that in the following weeks, additional changes will be made, most notably, the launch of a new website for China Brief.