Taiwan

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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.

  • Production line at Eminent Luggage Corp. in Taiwan and a <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ym_People_at_Keelung.jpg">ship at Keelung</a>, Taiwan, photos by Pichi Chuang/Reuters and pete/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">CC by 2.0</a>

    Report

    Implications of a Coercive Quarantine of Taiwan by China

    It's possible that China could enact a quarantine of Taiwan, preventing it from sending exports or receiving imports. Quarantine exploits Taiwan's economic vulnerability but also has consequences for the United States and other allies. How might they respond?

    May 23, 2022

  • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen visits army reservist troops during training in Nanshipu, Taiwan, March 12, 2022, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine War Is Motivating Taiwan to Better Secure Its Own Future

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine is probably motivating Taiwan to better secure its own future versus China. But many of the challenges currently facing Taiwan, such as shortcomings in reservist training or lingering confusion over its military strategy, are difficult to fix, assuming they are even fixable.

    May 13, 2022

Explore Taiwan

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Avoiding a Long War in Ukraine, Gun Violence, Migrant Surges: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how the United States can help avoid a long war in Ukraine, responding to the gun violence crisis, limits on teachers’ instruction, and more.

    Jan 27, 2023

  • Soldiers release gasoline canisters on the Tamsui river simulating countering a Chinese invasion during asymmetric warfare drills in Taipei, Taiwan, July 19, 2022, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Commentary

    'Strategic Ambiguity' May Have U.S. and Taiwan Trapped in a Prisoner's Dilemma

    For its proponents, the idea of strategic ambiguity seems to have become an end in itself that has not adapted, and logically cannot adapt to the disruptive growth in Beijing's military power. The conditions under which the policy worked seem to have evaporated with China's rise. Strategic clarity may offer a way out of this dilemma.

    Jan 18, 2023

  • U.S. Navy vessels participate in an exercise with uncrewed surface vessels off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia, October 12, 2022, photo by Warren Duffie/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Could Taiwan Defend with Uncrewed Surface Vessels?

    Ukraine has demonstrated the ability of explosive uncrewed surface vessels to target ships. These weapons could play a role in preventing Chinese forces from successfully invading Taiwan in potential future scenarios.

    Jan 9, 2023

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: January-February 2023

    This issue explores the inadequacies of the current system of space governance; China's presence in the Arctic; abortion in the U.S. post-Dobbs; and the security and technology challenges related to Taiwan's domination of the microchip industry.

    Jan 6, 2023

  • Jason Matheny, president and CEO of the RAND Corporation, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation, image by Kekeli Sumah/RAND Corporation

    Commentary

    Ten Things That Inspired Me in 2022

    It would be impossible to capture all the important work that RAND does in a year. But RAND president and CEO Jason Matheny has compiled ten times he was inspired by RAND's efforts to bring insight to some of the biggest policy stories of 2022.

    Dec 15, 2022

  • (l-r) Moderator Jamie Morin and panelists Bruce McClintock, Debra Emmons, and Marin Halper at the West Coast Aerospace Forum in Santa Monica, California, December 2, 2022, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Blog

    Can the War in Ukraine Help the United States Address Security Concerns in the Indo-Pacific?

    Even as the Russian military continues to struggle in Ukraine, Air Force leaders and top national security experts at the 2022 West Coast Aerospace Forum warned not to expect similar outcomes in a potential conflict with China. The 7th annual event focused on applying lessons learned from Russia's invasion of Ukraine to the security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

    Dec 14, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Taiwan, Putin's Holy War, Mining the Moon: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why China likely won't attack Taiwan anytime soon, Vladimir Putin's “holy war” in Ukraine, why it's time to make rules for space-mining, and more.

    Nov 25, 2022

  • Taiwan Navy Marines conducted a scenario-based drill near Penghu, Taiwan, October 24, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Xi Likely Won't Be Attacking Taiwan Anytime Soon

    Rather than start a war, Xi Jinping is more likely to intensify China's use of coercive measures against Taiwan, including diplomatic, economic, and military pressure coupled with cyber and psychological operations. If coercion fails, Beijing might turn to force as a last resort, but this still seems unlikely given the many complicating factors.

    Nov 15, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Lessons from the Pandemic, Diplomacy in Ukraine, Defending Taiwan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This week, we discuss lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, planning to end the war in Ukraine, reducing deaths in law enforcement custody, and more.

    Nov 4, 2022

  • CM-11 tanks fire artillery during a live-fire drill, in Pingtung county, Taiwan, September 7, 2022, photo by Ceng Shou Yi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine's Dream Could Be Taiwan's Nightmare

    Defenders of territorial sovereignty and a peaceful world order may be cheered by Ukraine's success, but there is danger that success could decrease the urgency of efforts to strengthen Taiwan. China will seek to learn from the problems Russia has had in Ukraine. Will the U.S. and other supporters of Taiwan do the same?

    Oct 28, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    "Killing Rats in a Porcelain Shop": PLA Urban Warfare in a Taiwan Campaign

    This chapter considers the dedicated efforts the PLA has focused on since the late 2000s to develop an urban warfare capacity that appears to be directed at the capture of Taipei in a Cross-straits contingency.

    Oct 19, 2022

  • Map of the Spratly Islands, 2015, image by U.S. Department of State

    Report

    The Political Geography of the South China Sea Disputes

    Until the early 20th century, the South China Sea was seen as a vital communications and trade passage that was not under the jurisdiction of any country or empire. How did littoral states' claims on its maritime zones and features develop? And what is the likely future of the disputes?

    Oct 19, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Microchips, Ukraine, Outer Space: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how safeguarding Taiwan is the answer to America's microchip problem, a moment of clarity in Ukraine, new rules in space, and more.

    Oct 7, 2022

  • Microchips on a production line, photo by venuestock/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The U.S. Has a Microchip Problem. Safeguarding Taiwan Is the Solution

    Taiwan manufactures about 92 percent of the world's advanced microchips, which are used in almost all electronics, from cars to coffeemakers to combine harvesters. A Chinese attack on the island would imperil the world's supply of microchips. Here's how to offset that threat.

    Oct 3, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Diversity in the Military, Telemedicine Abortion, China and Taiwan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the benefits of increasing and maintaining diversity in the armed forces, the challenges of telemedicine abortion, whether Indo-Pacific countries are backing China or Taiwan, and more.

    Aug 26, 2022

  • U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei, August 3, 2022, photo courtesy of Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Indo-Pacific Mostly Backs 'One China,' but Taiwan Gets Some Love, Too

    Almost the entire Indo-Pacific region backs China over Taiwan. But U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August trip to Taiwan made it clear that key U.S. allies strongly support Taiwan's cause, particularly in the face of a potential war over the island. This suggests that Beijing's assertive behavior is steadily alienating nations that otherwise may have minded their own business.

    Aug 22, 2022

  • U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris virtually addresses the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Suva, Fiji, July 13, 2022, photo by Ben McKay/AAPIMAGE via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    China's Pacific Push Is Backfiring

    Beijing has had only limited success in spreading its influence in the Pacific, with the notable exceptions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. To be sure, other victories should be expected to follow. The overall picture, however, is far more challenging for China.

    Jul 26, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Gun Policy, China and Taiwan, Russian Propaganda: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on reducing America's unacceptably high rates of gun violence, what would happen if China “quarantines” Taiwan, and Russia's “firehose of falsehood.”

    May 27, 2022