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The relationship between China and Taiwan is more stable in 2009 than it has been in years, but China has nonetheless not renounced its “right” to use force to forestall Taiwan's “independence”. At the same time, the cross-strait military balance is shifting in ways that are problematic for Taiwan's defense: The growing size and quality of China's missile arsenal, along with other advances in Chinese military capabilities, call into question the United States' and Taiwan's ability to defend the island against a large-scale Chinese attack. In this volume, the authors employ a mix of theater-level combat modeling, simpler mathematical models, historical analysis, interviews with experts, and qualitative judgment to evaluate both the China-Taiwan political dynamic and the cross-strait military balance. Shlapak et al. conclude with a discussion of how Taiwan might be successfully defended against a Chinese invasion attempt.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Smith Richardson Foundation and was conducted under the auspices of the International Security and Defense Policy Center within the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

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