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.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China, November 5, 2019, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    What to Expect from China in 2020

    Last year was an eventful one in China, with U.S.–China trade tensions escalating, protests in Hong Kong reaching a crisis point, and President Xi Jinping further consolidating power. What might the rest of the world expect from China in 2020?

    Jan 3, 2020

  • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen attends a campaign rally ahead of the presidential election in Taipei, Taiwan, December 21, 2019, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Taiwan and Vietnam Could Tell Us in 2020

    While many issues warrant attention in 2020, two that should be near the top of Asia-watchers' lists are Taiwan and Vietnam. Both are on the front lines of Chinese coercion, and their ability to respond, either with or without American support, will set the tone in the Indo-Pacific well beyond 2020.

    Dec 30, 2019

  • The national flag of Taiwan on a large number of metal containers for storing goods stacked in rows on top of each other. Conception of storage of goods by importers, exporters, photo by Sova Vitalij/AdobeStock

    Journal Article

    Trade Relations Between Taiwan and South Asia Under the New Southbound Policy

    This paper provides an assessment of Taiwan's global status as an economy, to discover where its global comparative advantages lie, then assesses its economic relations with South Asia.

    Dec 13, 2019

  • (L-R) Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 9, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Does Beijing Want from the Pacific Islands?

    China's recent activities in Oceania highlight a formidable two-pronged strategy of diplomatic and economic engagement that Washington and its allies and partners will have to vigorously compete against to maintain their preeminence in the Pacific.

    Dec 9, 2019

  • Taiwan's guards of honour attend a welcoming ceremony for Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine in Taipei, Taiwan, July 27, 2018, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    China Will Struggle to Shut Taiwan Out of the Pacific

    With the decisions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati to recognize Beijing over Taipei, the list of Taiwan's official diplomatic partners has decreased to 15. But China is likely to have a difficult time eliminating Taiwan's presence diplomatically in the Pacific.

    Oct 3, 2019

  • China and Taiwan flags on a chess board, photo by Kagenmi/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Tale of Two Cities China Ignores at Its Peril

    Beijing may believe that, eventually, Taiwanese politics will turn in its favor. But it should consider experiences from the other two territories currently living under the formula—Hong Kong and Macau—to better understand why “one country, two systems” will never work in Taiwan, regardless of politics.

    Sep 12, 2019

  • Soldiers sit on an M60A3 tank for a group photograph after an anti-invasion drill to test readiness ahead of Lunar New Year, simulating enemy invasion and the safeguarding of the weapon systems in case of air raid, in Taichung, Taiwan, January 17, 2019, Photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    Making Sense of U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

    Why does the U.S. sell arms to Taiwan? And what is the impact on the cross-Strait military balance? Taiwan's arms purchase reflects a continuing concern over Beijing's military intentions; a balancing of operational and political considerations; a commitment by the United States to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself; and an American refusal to “stand down” in the face of China's aggressive behavior and coercion of Indo-Pacific democracies.

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Protesters break the windows of the Legislative Council building on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Beijing Won't Allow Its Hong Kong Integration Experiment to Fail

    Recent events in Hong Kong have posed the stiffest challenge yet to Beijing's sovereignty. If sustained, they could push China to react to protect its national interests.

    Jul 3, 2019

  • Protesters outside police headquarters demand Hong Kong's leaders to step down and withdraw the extradition bill, in Hong Kong, June 21, 2019, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    One Country, Two Systems, Lots of Problems

    The enormous protests in Hong Kong since spring have led to fresh fears about the viability of China's "one country, two systems" policy. It's an idea that Macau and Hong Kong officially subscribe to and Taiwan fiercely resists—but one increasingly questioned from all sides.

    Jun 21, 2019

  • Participants wave flags during Taiwan's National Day celebrations outside the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2010, photo by Nicky Loh/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Taiwan Diplomatic Victory Over China Could Be Inevitable

    It is likely that Taipei will lose diplomatic allies unless a cross-Strait agreement is reached on the 1992 Consensus. But it is perhaps equally inevitable that Taiwan will convince at least one or more states to recognize Taiwan over China. Such a development would help counter the narrative that Taiwan sovereignty is doomed.

    Mar 21, 2019

  • Report

    Countering China's Efforts to Isolate Taiwan Diplomatically in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Role of Development Assistance and Disaster Relief

    Taiwan provides development assistance and disaster relief programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. This report considers how Taiwan can optimize its help to this region to ensure that it gets the maximum diplomatic value for its generosity.

    Mar 13, 2019

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping listens to a speech during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, January 2, 2019

    Commentary

    Is a Sustainable Peace Possible in the Taiwan Strait?

    Between now and the next Taiwanese presidential election in 2020, the prospects of forging a sustainable peace between Taiwan and China are exceptionally low. Both Chinese President Xi and Taiwanese President Tsai are dug into their respective positions.

    Jan 7, 2019

  • Navy ships guard while a sea mine is destroyed at the Irben Strait in the Baltic sea, near Riga, Latvia, May 20, 2009

    Commentary

    Small States Can Use Naval Mines and Unmanned Vehicles to Deter Maritime Aggression

    Small coastal nations face potential threats from larger, more powerful adversaries. Their coastlines represent vulnerabilities that a foe may seek to exploit. But these nations can hinder and deter potential aggressors by using less expensive systems, such as naval mines and unmanned vehicles.

    Jul 16, 2018

  • China's aircraft carrier Liaoning takes part in a military drill of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the western Pacific Ocean, April 18, 2018

    Commentary

    Beijing's Threats Against Taiwan Are Deadly Serious

    China's perception of the political status of Taiwan and how close Taipei and Washington have become has come to dominate cross-strait relations. Taiwan and the United States should prepare for greater hostility in the coming years, almost certainly lasting until the next Taiwan presidential election in 2020.

    May 22, 2018

  • A model of Taiwanese domestically manufactured Hsiung Feng III Anti-Ship Missile is seen inside the missile launching vehicle during International Maritime and Defense Industry Exposition in Kaohsiung, Taiwan September 16, 2016

    Commentary

    China Is Tightening the Screws on Taiwan. Will Trump Act and Risk Losing Beijing?

    The United States should consider ways to strengthen its engagement with Taiwan on defense and security issues that go beyond arms sales. Washington will need to do more to help Taiwan deal with other forms of Chinese pressure as well.

    Feb 22, 2018

  • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrives at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, April 27, 2017

    Commentary

    Why China Should (Still) Feel Good About Taiwan… but Maybe Not for Long

    Chinese leaders have ample reason to feel good about Taiwan, namely because Taiwanese President Tsai had been focusing her energy on stabilizing cross-Strait relations based on the status quo rather than moving toward independence. But because of its pressure tactics, Beijing may inadvertently push Taiwan in a more extreme direction.

    Jan 24, 2018

  • A Chinese military plane H-6 bomber flies over the Pacific October 27, 2013

    Commentary

    Chinese Bomber Flights Around Taiwan: For What Purpose?

    Recent bomber flights near Taiwan represent the most concerted training regimen yet aimed at improving Chinese airpower. China seeks to enhance the PLA Air Force's capabilities and signal Beijing's will to defend its territorial claims against the U.S. and its regional allies and partners, especially Taiwan and Japan.

    Sep 13, 2017

  • 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