An outdoor screen in Beijing shows a news coverage of China's military drills around Taiwan on May 23. (Jade Gao/AFP/Getty Images)

The central question for our time, if we are to avoid war across the Taiwan Strait, is to understand how Chinese President Xi Jinping actually interprets the deterrence strategies of the United States, Taiwan itself, and U.S. allies and strategic partners.

What strategy is China now embarking upon, short of preparation for an actual invasion, to achieve its political objectives in relation to Taiwan? And what is the role of deterrence in responding to such a strategy?

The key to understanding Beijing’s red line on Taiwan’s political status is China’s fear that Taiwan will become an independent state, and be recognized by the international community as such, thereby destroying the possibility of unification with the mainland.…  Seguir leyendo »

A screen broadcasting Chinese naval exercises near Taiwan, in Beijing, April 2023. Tingshu Wang / Reuters

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2021, Admiral Philip Davidson, the retiring commander of U.S. military joint forces in the Indo-Pacific, expressed concern that China was accelerating its timeline to unify with Taiwan by amphibious invasion. “I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact in the next six years”, he warned. This assessment that the United States is up against an urgent deadline to head off a Chinese attack on Taiwan—dubbed the “Davidson Window”—has since become a driving force in U.S. defense strategy and policy in Asia.

Indeed, the Defense Department has defined a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan as the “pacing scenario” around which U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese President-elect Lai Ching-te holds a press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, January 2024. Ann Wang / Reuters

On May 20, in a ceremony in Taipei, Lai Ching-te is scheduled to be inaugurated as the next leader of Taiwan. Currently vice president, Lai is taking over from President Tsai Ing-wen at a delicate moment in Taiwan’s relations with Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party regards the self-ruling island of 23 million people as a renegade province to be unified with the mainland by force, if necessary. And although Taiwan has managed to maintain significant trade and interpersonal ties to mainland China while postponing discussions over its sovereignty, this ambiguous status quo has recently frayed amid political headwinds from both Beijing and Taipei.…  Seguir leyendo »

"In Taipei, I can walk down dark alleyways long past midnight with my purse wide open without fear of getting robbed," says Clarissa Wei, adding it's something she wouldn't feel comfortable doing in the US. Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images

When my parents were growing up in the 1970s, they did not consider Taiwan an idyllic place to start a family. It was under martial law and the steady drumbeat of threats from China only seemed to be getting louder with each passing year. My dad still remembers the anxiety that engulfed the island when the United States cut off diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in favor of the People’s Republic of China in 1979. “We weren’t sure if America would protect us if there was conflict”, he told me.

And so, in their late 20s, they left everything they knew and moved to the suburbs of Los Angeles where I was born.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cómo evitar una guerra por Taiwán

¿Es posible que China ataque a Taiwán en 2027? Eso creía en 2021 el jefe saliente del Comando de EE. UU. del Indo-Pacífico, Philip Davidson, quien recientemente insistió con ese análisis; pero no está escrito que Estados Unidos y China estén destinados a una guerra por esa isla. Aunque el peligro es real, no se trata de un resultado inevitable.

China considera que Taiwán es una provincia renegada, vestigio de la guerra civil de la década de 1940, y aunque las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y China se normalizaron en la década de 1970, Taiwán sigue siendo motivo de discusión... sin embargo, esas potencias hallaron una fórmula diplomática para ocultar el desacuerdo: desde ambos lados del estrecho de Taiwán los chinos acordaron que existe «una sola China».…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese President-elect William Lai and his running mate Hsiao Bi-khim speak to supporters at the Democratic Progressive Party's headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan. Annabelle Chih/Getty Images

At first blush, the results of Taiwan’s national elections last month read like a clear rebuke of China’s coercive reunification agenda. Despite Beijing’s incessant branding of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as “separatist”, Taiwanese voters extended the DPP’s presidential reign for an unprecedented third consecutive term. International headlines hailed the election as a major “setback” for China, which had warned that casting a ballot for the DPP was tantamount to voting for war with the mainland. Some media even framed the DPP’s victory as an act of defiance by the Taiwanese people, rebuffing Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s assertion in his recent New Year’s address that reunification between China and Taiwan is “inevitable”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un élevage d'huîtres sur la côte ouest de Kinmen, à quelques kilomètres de la ville chinoise de Xiamen. ANN WANG / REUTERS

Si l'élection de William Lai à la présidence de Taïwan, le 13 janvier dernier, réaffirme l'identité de la nation taïwanaise au sein du monde chinois, elle ouvre une nouvelle phase de tension entre les deux rives du détroit de Formose dont les conséquences, à terme, seront loin d'être négligeables. La décision unilatérale de Pékin de modifier la trajectoire de la route aérienne civile M503, près de la ligne médiane, le 31 janvier, et l'incident mortel du 15 février, confirment les contours d'une stratégie chinoise de tensions sous le seuil, aux parades incertaines.

Le 15 février 2024, deux pêcheurs chinois se sont noyés donc à environ un mile marin au large de l'archipel de Kinmen après avoir été pourchassés par les garde-côtes taïwanais.…  Seguir leyendo »

China Is Running Out of Lines to Cross in the Taiwan Strait

In 2020 the balance of military power in the Taiwan Strait began a gradual but profound shift in China’s favor.

That August, Alex Azar, then the health and human services secretary, became the highest-ranking U.S. cabinet official to visit Taiwan in more than four decades. Though he was there to talk about the pandemic, China’s People’s Liberation Army (P.L.A.) responded by carrying out large-scale military exercises around the self-governing island, sending aircraft over the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the halfway point between China and Taiwan, for only the third time in more than 20 years. Since then, China has responded to such visits and other perceived provocations by flying more than 4,800 sorties, with growing numbers of aircraft flying in locations previously seen as off-limits and conducting dozens of increasingly complex air and naval military exercises around Taiwan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese soldiers at a military base in Taitung, Taiwan, January 2024. Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

Washington and its allies face many potential geopolitical catastrophes over the next decade, but nearly all pale in comparison to what would ensue if China annexed or invaded Taiwan. Such an outcome, one U.S. official put it, “would be a disaster of utmost importance to the United States, and I am convinced that time is of the essence”. That was General Douglas MacArthur in June 1950, then overseeing occupied Japan and worrying in a top-secret memo to Washington about the prospect that the Communists in China might seek to vanquish their Nationalist enemies once and for all. More than 70 years later, MacArthur’s words ring truer than ever.…  Seguir leyendo »

Palacio Presidencial de Taipéi, sede del gobierno de la República de China (Taiwán). Foto: SU TSUI LING / Getty Images


Se analizan los resultados de las elecciones generales taiwanesas y sus implicaciones internacionales, planteando posibles escenarios de evolución en el estrecho de Taiwán a corto y medio plazo.


El escenario base para el estrecho de Taiwán tras las elecciones taiwanesas será continuista sin grandes iniciativas para modificar el statu quo desde Pekín, Taipéi o Washington. El desgaste del Partido Progresista Democrático (PPD), que ha perdido apoyos en las últimas elecciones y perdido el control del parlamento, dificulta una política aventurista por parte del nuevo gobierno. Por su parte, tanto Biden como Xi han apostado en los últimos meses por reducir las tensiones bilaterales para centrarse en asuntos domésticos en un 2024 que estará marcado por las elecciones presidenciales estadounidenses y los esfuerzos de las autoridades chinas por reactivar su economía.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwan: una democracia modélica en peligro

Si una certeza dejaron las recientes elecciones presidenciales y legislativas celebradas en Taiwan es que la taiwanesa es una democracia modélica. Mientras una ola de populismo, polarización y posverdad se propaga por todo el planeta, afectando también a muchas democracias consolidadas, Taiwan ha dado una lección de sensatez política y madurez democrática pese a que, con la salvedad de Ucrania, sobre ningún otro país se cierne la amenaza de que una todopoderosa potencia autoritaria -situada a sólo 160 kilómetros de sus costas- lance contra él una invasión militar para anexionárselo.

En vez de alimentar divisiones irreconciliables, la campaña electoral no fue conflictiva y los candidatos evitaron los ataques personales.…  Seguir leyendo »

El pasado sábado Taiwán volvió a demostrar al mundo lo vibrante que es su democracia, con una participación de más del 70% para elegir al nuevo presidente y a su órgano legislativo, el Yuan. Lai Ching-te, candidato del Partido Progresista Democrático (PPD) ganó las elecciones presidenciales pero su partido no obtuvo los votos suficientes para controlar el Parlamento. El antiguo partido que ha dominado la escena política en Taiwán desde décadas, con mejores vínculos con China continental, el Kuomintang (KMT) superó al PPD por un escaño en el Yuan legislativo mientras que el más recientemente creado Partido Popular de Taiwán (PPT), aunque cuenta con pocos escaños tiene la clave para que el PPD pueda legislar.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los obstáculos para una invasión exitosa de la isla por parte de China siguen siendo formidables.

Xi Jinping cree que la historia se mueve a su favor. En su visita a Vladimir Putin en Moscú el pasado mes de marzo, el líder chino le dijo al presidente ruso: "Ahora mismo, estamos asistiendo a un cambio nunca visto en 100 años y estamos impulsando este cambio juntos".

Aquella frase dio la vuelta al mundo. Las palabras de Xi fueron vistas como un claro respaldo a la invasión rusa de Ucrania - y una sugerencia de que China, también, pronto desempeñará su papel para "impulsar este cambio".…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwan's President-Elect, Lai Ching-te (left), celebrates with his running mate, Hsiao Bi-khim, during a rally outside the headquarters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taipei on January 13, after winning the presidential election. Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

For the US, Saturday’s Taiwan election results signal the continuation of heightened tension with China over the issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty. In some ways, President-Elect Lai Ching-te and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made the election into a referendum over whether Taiwan should draw nearer to the US or China.

Lai’s victory signals four more years of efforts to emphasize the island’s ties to the US and to seek closer cooperation between Taipei and Washington. This will be the case regardless of who wins the US presidential election in November.

Expect the US to continue its strong, bipartisan support for Taiwan – a posture reinforced by the presence of a bipartisan coalition of former senior officials who met with Lai and Vice-President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim in Taipei on Monday.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Peaceful Solution on Taiwan Is Slipping Away

Conflict between China and the United States just got a little more likely.

On Saturday, Taiwanese voters handed the Democratic Progressive Party (D.P.P.), which asserts that Taiwan is already independent from China and should stay that way, an unprecedented third consecutive presidential victory. In doing so, the island’s people shrugged off ominous warnings by China that a win by President-elect Lai Ching-te — considered by Beijing to be a dangerous Taiwan independence advocate — could trigger a war.

The result should lay to rest any doubt about the direction in which Taiwan is going. Determined to maintain their autonomy, the people of Taiwan are drifting further from China and won’t come back voluntarily, elevating military action as one of the only options left for China to effect the unification with Taiwan that it has long sought.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chiang Ying-ying Associated Press Des partisans du candidat Lai Ching-te, le 13 janvier 2024, à Taipei.

Le 13 janvier dernier, les Taïwanais étaient conviés aux urnes, dans un contexte de tensions accrues entre la Chine et les États-Unis. Le Parti démocrate progressiste (PDP), favorable à l’indépendance de l’île, a remporté un troisième mandat consécutif. Une première depuis la démocratisation de l’île à la fin des années 1980. Malgré le contexte sécuritaire entourant l’île, on remarque que le quart des électeurs ont voté d’une manière contestataire, au grand bénéfice du Parti populaire taïwanais (PPT), jeune parti créé en 2019.

Sans pour autant nier les enjeux internationaux, les enjeux intérieurs, tels que le coût de la vie et les emplois, semblent préoccuper davantage une certaine partie de l’électorat taïwanais.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘We will celebrate … peaceful transition of power, with graceful concession speeches, transparent voting, and efficient procedures.’ A DPP rally in Taipei. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

On a gorgeous, sunny Saturday, Taiwan held its presidential election: 14 million people, or 72% of eligible voters, turned out to vote – my elderly parents among them. As with many families in Taiwan, ours is politically divided along generational lines, and we’ve had our share of screaming matches. But somehow, on voting day, we were at peace. “I’m proud of you”, I said, snapping a photo. And I meant it. We live in a democracy, and we all appreciate it. Afterwards, we lunched at a spot that had a particularly excellent three-cup chicken – and then, ice-cream.

My story is far from unique.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwan’s Tightrope Has Become a Knife Edge

My home, Taiwan, is a shining example of freedom, democracy and inclusivity. We have one of the world’s most open societies, the highest percentage of female legislators in Asia and a government minister who is transgender. Decades of hard work, smart policies and entrepreneurial mindsets have led to enviably high standards of living and made us the global heart of the semiconductor industry.

When Taiwan votes in elections on Saturday, I will go to the polls with a real feeling of worry about our future and whether we can preserve and maintain what we’ve achieved.

Taiwan’s accomplishments were made possible in part by decades of stability between China and the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwán acude a las urnas para elegir a su presidente y al parlamento de los próximos cuatro años. Si bien la actualidad política doméstica de este territorio tiende a pasar bajo el radar de la atención mediática en Europa, estos comicios han atraído la atención de muchos debido a su carga geopolítica e importancia económica y su trascendencia para el futuro, no solo de la isla, sino de toda la región. Las tensiones entre China y Estados Unidos han situado a Taiwán como uno de los puntos más sensibles en la competición geopolítica entre ambos, donde el riesgo de conflicto es más notable.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Post-Election Risk Assessment for the Taiwan Strait

On Jan. 13, Taiwan will elect a new government whose decision-making will play an important role in shaping cross-strait dynamics for the next four years. Final polls in early January show the Democratic Progressive Party candidate Lai Ching-te as the favorite, marginally ahead of the Kuomintang candidate Hou You-yi, followed by the Taiwan People’s Party’s Ko Wen-je.

A Lai win will produce the most tensions in the near term because China sees this scenario as most threatening to its interests. In response, Beijing will likely increase its pressures on Taiwan even further, through a variety of coercive military and economic tools.…  Seguir leyendo »