Economic Leap – Forward, Political Stalemate?—the Trends of Taiwan – Chinese Relations in the Early Post – Cold War Era





Published date: 

七月, 1996


Jieh-min Wu


Economic exchange between Taiwan and China has been growing rapidly since the mid 1980s. Hong Kong/China has become the largest export market for Taiwan as of October 1995. Meanwhile, China is also the largest recipient of the political interaction that has further complicated the long existing rivalry across the Straits. Moreover, as Beijing openly threatened that it would make use of economic connections for political goals, this bluffing gesture has made people feel dangerous of economic interdependence with China.

This article takes issue with the "jeopardy thesis" of economic connections. It starts from the given fact of the political animosity between CCP and KMT, analyzes that trends of economic exchange between the two sides, and concludes the economic relation across the Straits so far is still positive and favorable to Taiwan. Following the analysis, China is unlikely to launch an aggressive war against Taiwan in the near term. Similarly, Beijing will find it difficult to successfully engage in an economic warfare with Taiwan.

However, given the deepening trend of economic interdependence, there indeed exist some unfavorable factors on the side of Taiwan if China;s state capacity keeps growing, if its geographic politico-military status becomes more significant, and if Beijing's claim on Taiwan's sovereignty remains unshaken. Being in a structurally weak mechanisms vis-a-vis China. In the long term, the higher degree Chinese national economy is integrated into the capitalist world system, the more Beijing's action in the international community will be constrained. In addition, the mire deeply Chinese political system is decentralized and democratized, the more likely Beijing will soften its tough policy against Taiwan. Therefore, it is s desirable strategy for Taiwan to pursue a policy of "peaceful evolution" toward China that will probably help create an environment for rapprochement and a framework for peaceful coexistence across the Straits.