Tags: Analysis: China-Taiwan Trade Masks Security Fears

Analysis: China-Taiwan Trade Masks Security Fears

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 07:09 PM

Expanding economic ties between Taiwan and China continue to ease tensions in the region, yet security concerns remain a strong undercurrent of relations between Taipei and Beijing.

Cross-strait relations between Taiwan and China continue to improve amidst glowing trade figures released by the Taiwanese Customs Authority in the 12 months since Taipei and Beijing inked the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). A reduction in tariffs under the ECFA resulted in a nearly 12% increase in exports from Taiwan to China in the past year.

The continued easing of tension between Taipei and Beijing also was marked this week by the arrival of the first “unsponsored” individual tourists from China to Taiwan. Tourists from China were previously allowed only to visit Taiwan as part of organized groups as Taipei remained wary that Chinese spies were posing as tourists to the island.


Despite expanding economic and cultural relations between Taiwan and China, Taipei remains concerned over security and the possibility of a Chinese attack. Taiwan recently renewed a request to purchase advanced F-16s from the United States for its defense but the Obama administration is wary of antagonizing Beijing and continues to resist Taipei’s request to acquire the planes despite maintaining security commitments to Taiwan including a policy of arms sales.

Taipei will likely maintain a security hedging strategy against China while continuing to improve essential economic ties to Beijing. Taiwan probably believes the United States will continue to oppose selling it advanced military technologies and will expand its efforts to acquire such technology from other states.

Carolyn Leddy held senior positions with the U.S. Department of State and the National Security Council under the George W. Bush administration. She was a 2009-2010 Council on Foreign Relations-Hitachi Ltd. International Affairs Fellow in Japan and Visiting Fellow at the National Institute for Defense Studies in Tokyo.

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Analysis: China-Taiwan Trade Masks Security Fears
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 07:09 PM
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