Taiwan

Taiwan became the primary stronghold of the Republic of China following the Communist party's rise in mainland China in 1949. RAND has analyzed shifts in U.S. diplomatic and military policy toward Taiwan and the People's Republic of China (PRC) over the decades and, in recent years, has examined Taiwan's rapid economic development, gradual political liberalization, and efforts to achieve independence from the PRC.

  • Soldiers pose for photo during International Maritime and Defense Industry Exposition in Kaohsiung, Taiwan September 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Taiwan's 2017 Quadrennial Defense Review in Context

    Taiwan's 2017 Quadrennial Defense Review is consistent with past reviews on defense strategy, reform of the military service system, and defense budget constraints. It also emphasizes the importance to President Tsai of Taiwan's domestic defense industry and shows uncertainty about U.S. Asia policy.

    Jun 14, 2017

  • People in the Taiwanese tourism industry take part in a march calling for the government to tackle the falling number of Chinese tourists visiting the island since Tsai Ing-wen took office, in Taipei, September 12, 2016

    Commentary

    Correspondence: Stability or Volatility Across the Taiwan Strait?

    Prolonged tensions — even possibly amounting to a cross-strait cold peace — are likely if China's President Xi Jinping and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen cannot reach basic agreement on Taiwan's sovereignty.

    May 10, 2017

  • A fleet of ships sail out at sea as China and Russia's naval joint drill concludes in China

    Testimony

    Chinese Political and Military Thinking Regarding Taiwan and East and South China Seas

    Official Chinese documents and scholarly writings provide insight into how Chinese leaders consider potential conflict with Taiwan and in the East and South China Seas—and how they might regard escalation in any conflict involving U.S. forces.

    Apr 13, 2017

  • Soldiers drive a CM33 Clouded Leopard infantry fighting vehicle during the annual Han Kuang military drill simulating the PLA invading the island, in southern Taiwan, August 25, 2016

    Commentary

    Why China Will Not Unify with Taiwan by 2020

    The prospects for peaceful unification of China and Taiwan continue to dim. Nothing Beijing has tried to woo or coerce Taiwan has worked. For those determined to compel Taiwan's unification, military subjugation remains a last option. But it would only worsen China's security environment.

    Mar 21, 2017

  • Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen waves during National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2016

    Commentary

    Why China Should Feel Good About Taiwan

    Chinese leaders should seek to engage in good-faith discussions with Taiwanese counterparts. Beijing should also recognize that Tsai's tentativeness about the new U.S. administration could change if cross-Strait military tensions escalate.

    Feb 22, 2017

  • Taiwanese soldiers salute from tanks during a military exercise in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan, July 4, 2015

    Report

    Transforming Taiwan's Reserve Force

    As the political-military challenge from China grows, Taiwan's reserve force may need to play a more prominent role in Taipei's approach to deterring Chinese aggression. Changing its reserve force size, structure, roles, missions, equipment, and training could help Taiwan offset PLA advantages.

    Feb 22, 2017

  • Taiwanese Coast Guard patrol ship, Kaohsiung (CG 129), during a rescue drill near the coast of Itu Aba in the South China Sea, November 29, 2016

    Commentary

    History and Current Developments Regarding Taiwan's Coast Guard

    As Asia-Pacific countries develop policies to regulate maritime zones of jurisdiction, the importance of coast guards as instruments of state policy has been growing. Taiwan's Coast Guard is an increasingly effective force facilitating the protection and regulation of Taiwanese maritime rights and interests in the East and South China Sea.

    Feb 15, 2017

  • Report

    Smarter Power, Stronger Partners, Volume II: Trends in Force Projection Against Potential Adversaries

    This book describes scenarios to test whether the anti-access and area-denial threat to U.S. force projection is growing more severe. They describe plausible U.S. and adversary military actions given current operational capabilities and approaches.

    Feb 8, 2017

  • U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City, January 11, 2017

    Commentary

    Hey Washington Experts — Don't Roll Your Eyes Over Trump, Roll Up Your Sleeves

    Policy experts do not want to be irrelevant or ignored. The Trump administration does not want to fail, and needs to generate winning policies. By working together, the administration and the policy community could help one another, and, more importantly, the nation.

    Jan 12, 2017

  • A woman rides a bike past Taiwan and China national flags during a rally held by a group of pro-China supporters calling for peaceful reunification, Taiwan May 14, 2016.

    Commentary

    Walking Away from One-China Policy Imperils Taiwan

    The U.S. One-China policy has helped keep the peace for decades. Abandoning it now could result in stiffer Chinese resolve. Such a strategy may even backfire by triggering an otherwise avoidable crisis.

    Dec 22, 2016

  • Report

    Maritime Issues in the East and South China Seas: Summary of a Conference Held January 12–13, 2016

    This conference summary presents key insights from a January 2016 conference focusing on maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas.

    Dec 12, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama (right) stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, September 25, 2015

    Commentary

    China's Actions Are Causing U.S. 'Militarization' of the Pacific

    Beijing's aggression in the Asia-Pacific is threatening key U.S. allies, causing America to respond. Any change in U.S. policy must be based on changes in Chinese behavior.

    Nov 3, 2016

  • Young Chinese faithful shelter from the sun as Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, May 22, 2016

    Commentary

    Taiwan Should Not Worry About the Vatican

    Concerns are growing in Taipei over whether the Holy See intends to switch its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. Beijing could be entertaining Vatican requests not out of genuine interest in reestablishing relations, but to put Taiwan on edge.

    Oct 5, 2016

  • Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen waves during her inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan, May 20, 2016

    Commentary

    A Bumpy Road Ahead for China-Taiwan Relations

    Taiwanese President Tsai has issued numerous political overtures to Beijing, yet Chinese President Xi has demonstrated a clear reluctance to accept her as a credible partner. Instead, he has turned up the heat on Tsai in an attempt to undermine her administration.

    Sep 22, 2016

  • Taiwan-made MK-30 rockets are launched from Thunderbolt-2000 multiple rocket launchers during the annual Han Kuang military exercise in Penghu, west of Taiwan

    Commentary

    Taiwan Forced to Rethink Its Air Defense Strategy

    Taiwan's defense problem is challenging, but it will spend a considerable sum on air defense capabilities in the coming years, and those investments could be made much more effective.

    Apr 14, 2016

  • Cover of RAND report RR1051: Three "Flanker" Aircraft

    Report

    Air Defense Options for Taiwan

    Taiwan's proximity to China and advanced PLA capabilities force Taiwan to rethink its air defense strategy. Taiwan could downsize and shift its fighter aircraft force to focus on coercive scenarios, increase its investment in surface-to-air missiles, and dedicate its surface-based air defense to supporting other defensive operations.

    Apr 5, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Social Environment, Life Challenge, and Health Among the Elderly in Taiwan

    We use an ongoing longitudinal survey of elderly Taiwanese to examine the linkages among health, the social environment, and exposure to life challenge.

    Feb 9, 2016

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

    United States and China: Trends in Military Competition

    In this October 2015 congressional briefing, Eric Heginbotham discusses relative U.S. and Chinese military capabilities, including the evolution of Chinese military capabilities, steps the United States can take to limit the impact of a growing Chinese military on deterrence, and other U.S. strategic interests.

    Oct 5, 2015

  • News Release

    China's Military Modernization Increasingly Challenges U.S. Defense Capabilities in Asia

    Although China continues to lag behind the United States in terms of aggregate military hardware and operational skills, it has improved its capabilities relative to those of the U.S. in many critical areas. Moreover, China does not need to catch up fully in order to challenge U.S. ability to conduct effective military operations near the Chinese mainland.

    Sep 14, 2015

  • Project

    An Interactive Look at the U.S.-China Military Scorecard

    To advance the public debate, RAND Project AIR FORCE used open, unclassified sources to compile 'The U.S.-China Military Scorecard: Forces, Geography, and the Evolving Balance of Power.' Use this interactive graphic to explore the operational areas covered in the report.

    Sep 14, 2015