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.

  • Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Murasame-class Yuudachi transits the South China Sea during a joint operation photo exercise, October 28, 2021, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Langholf/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Taiwan and Six Potential New Year's Resolutions for the U.S.-Japanese Alliance

    How might the United States and Japan prepare for possible conflict with China over Taiwan, and ensure forces are postured to operate together? The alliance could benefit from greater clarity, and practical conversations could make a better and stronger alliance in the new year.

    Jan 5, 2022

  • Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during the National Day celebration in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2021, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Commentary

    Taiwan Would Be Better Off Alone

    Relinquishing diplomatic partners could free Taiwan from an unwinnable competition with China and refocus attention on what really matters: reducing China's coercive power by strengthening relationships with powers that can truly help.

    Dec 23, 2021

  • Blog

    RAND Commentary Highlights of 2021

    Vaccine rollouts, an attack on the U.S. Capitol, massive ransomware attacks, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, record numbers of job openings and people quitting, and more. RAND researchers weighed in on all these topics and more.

    Dec 21, 2021

  • Blog

    Russia and Ukraine, Climate Migration, Democracy in Asia: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia and Ukraine, planning for climate migration, the state of democracy in Asia, and more.

    Dec 10, 2021

  • Armoured vehicles are deployed to carry out a shore defense operation as part of the HanKuang military exercise in Taipei, Taiwan, September 16, 2021, photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Reuters

    Commentary

    Preventing China from Taking Taiwan

    The single most challenging high-end threat to a key American national security interest today is probably a Chinese invasion attempt against Taiwan. The United States could try to make that scenario unthinkable for Beijing by ensuring that China cannot dominate the western Pacific region.

    Dec 9, 2021

  • A woman casts her vote during the by-election in Port Dickson, Malaysia, October 13, 2018, photo by Lai Seng Sin/Reuters

    Report

    Democracy Remains Fragile in the Asia-Pacific

    In Asia, there has been a reduction in the number of autocracies over time but also a rise in the number of partial democracies. What makes some Asian states slide toward authoritarianism? What policies can support democratization, and how can external actors help?

    Dec 6, 2021

  • The Second Battalion of the 99th Brigade of the Republic of China Marine Corps at the Presidential Palace in Taipei, Taiwan, July 6, 2020, photo by Wang Yu Ching/ CC BY 2.0

    Commentary

    The Counterintuitive Sensibility of Taiwan's New Defense Strategy

    As the United States prepares to deter China from attacking Taiwan and defend it from an attack, are the Taiwanese themselves doing everything they can to defend their territory?

    Dec 6, 2021

  • Blog

    U.S. 'Entanglement,' Global Health Cooperation, Community Stress: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on competing claims about U.S. partnerships and allies, responding to Russia's tactics in Ukraine, helping communities recover from stress, and more.

    Nov 26, 2021

  • Taiwan Air Force during annual exercises designed to prove the military's capabilities to repel a Chinese attack in Chang-Hua, Taiwan, May 28, 2019, photo by Aventurier Patrick/ABACA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Taiwan Is Safe Until at Least 2027, but with One Big Caveat

    Although Chinese President Xi Jinping clearly seeks to bring Taiwan to heel, and by force if necessary, he also continues to promote “peaceful reunification” as Beijing's preferred means. Xi likely would have toughened up his language by now if he thought war was a real possibility.

    Nov 10, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden responds to a question from a reporter in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 24, 2021, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Administration Shows Unwavering Support for Taiwan

    Ten months into the Biden administration, it is abundantly clear that the United States will continue to strengthen ties with Taiwan and defend the island if ever attacked by China. Through both word and deed, the United States has continued to demonstrate that Taipei should have no worries about Washington's commitment to the island.

    Oct 20, 2021

  • The USS Bonhomme Richard , left, and USS Green Bay docked at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, March 5, 2015, photo by Lt. David Levy/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    A Taiwan Contingency and Japan's Counterstrike Debate

    The United States and Japan could be drawn into a conflict in the event of Chinese aggression against Taiwan whether they like it or not. Allied defense planning could consider how Japan might further reinforce deterrence and if necessary improve its ability to contribute to the common defense.

    Jul 23, 2021

  • Marines with Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command pose for photos in the cyber operations center at Lasswell Hall

    Report

    Chinese Disinformation Efforts on Social Media

    The authors identify key Chinese practices and the supporting infrastructure and conditions that successful social media disinformation campaigns require, concluding that China is using Taiwan as a test bed for developing attack vectors.

    Jul 19, 2021

  • The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry conducts underway operations in the Taiwan Strait, April 10, 2020, photo by Ensign Samuel Hardgrove/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Can the United States Avoid Getting Trapped in a War Over Taiwan?

    Neither abandonment nor a more unconditional U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan from invasion by China makes sense. Between the stark choices of fleeing and fighting, what options does the United States have to bolster its position?

    Jun 14, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Exploring Chinese Military Thinking on Social Media Manipulation Against Taiwan

    This article addresses a gap in the current policy discussion, provides evidence of Chinese military planning for covert manipulation of Taiwanese social media, and explores how its interest in and tactics for social media manipulation have evolved over time.

    May 19, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Chinese Bomber Flights Around Taiwan: For What Purpose?

    After conducting two strategic bomber flights around Taiwan in late 2016, Beijing significantly stepped up its operational tempo with at least another five flights circumnavigating the island in mid-2017.

    May 18, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga hold a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., April, 16, 2021, photo by Doug Mills/Pool/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    What the United States Wants from Japan in Taiwan

    If a Taiwan conflict breaks out, what might the United States request of Japan? For the U.S.-Japan alliance, the answer is critical if the countries want to translate expressions of support into actual planning and preparation.

    May 10, 2021

  • South Korean soldiers coordinate fires during a joint artillery exercise with U.S. soldiers near the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea, May 10, 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson/U.S. Army

    Report

    The State of Deterrence in Korea and the Taiwan Strait

    The United States and South Korea have a robust military presence on the Korean Peninsula that, at a minimum, would make any effort by North Korea to reunify the nations by force extremely costly. In contrast, the state of U.S. deterrence with regard to Chinese aggression against Taiwan is mixed.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • The guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) transit the South China Sea, February 9, 2021, photo by MC3 Cheyenne Geletka/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Biden's China Reset Is Already on the Ropes

    The prospects of a U.S.-China reset are rapidly fading, and both sides bear some measure of responsibility. Beijing has refused to change its own assertive behavior. And all signs thus far point to a Biden administration that plans to take an exceptionally hard line against China.

    Mar 15, 2021

  • Chinese and Taiwanese flags are displayed around souvenir shops, ahead of the 60th anniversary of Second Taiwan Straits Crisis against China, in Kinmen, Taiwan, August 19, 2018, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Testimony

    Factors Shaping China's Use of Force Calculations Against Taiwan

    Taiwan remains the People's Liberation Army's main strategic direction despite a growing recognition that the PLA must also support China's international interests and presence. Does China see itself as capable of confronting the United States and its allies in a conflict over Taiwan? And what are some U.S. policy considerations?

    Feb 18, 2021

  • A Taiwanese coast guard points at a map showing the waters surrounding Matsu islands and mainland Chinese coast, at a coast guard office on Nangan island, the main island of the Taiwan-controlled Matsu islands, January 28, 2021, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Testimony

    U.S. Allied and Partner Support for Taiwan

    As the Biden administration assesses its Taiwan policy, it is important to examine how U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific might respond to a potential conflict over Taiwan. What factors might influence their willingness to help the United States defend Taiwan? And how might they respond if the United States did not come to Taiwan's defense?

    Feb 18, 2021