China’s relationship with Taiwan

28 Feb

The relationship between China and Taiwan (also known as the Cross-Strait Relationship) is complicated, dynamic and often misunderstood. China claims that Taiwan lies under its One China Policy, stating in an official publication that Taiwan is an “inalienable part of China”. However Taiwan and a large part of the international community disputes this.

Brown (2004) argues that Taiwan is no more a part of China than other regional countries such as South Korea. Taiwan has a very different, more advanced economy than mainland China and for a large part a different economy (Brown, 2004). The most influential protector of Taiwan’s sovereign interests is the USA (Lin, 2011). On the other hand, Taiwan does however acknowledge its Chinese heritage and there are currently promising government talks between the two nations (BBC, 2014).

Most literature forms the view that China has a Westphalian view to sovereignty in that it is staunchly hard-lineabout issues relating to what and what is not China (Keat Tok, 2013). The official is that voiced by Deng Xiaoping in that it is one country with 2 systems (Keat Yok, 2013). Taiwan is considered in the 3rd tier of sovereignty, with the mainland being 1st tier and Hong Kong being 2nd tier.

As mentioned previously, Cross Strait relations have been improving. The situation was volatile until the ascension of Ma Ying Jeou to the Taiwanese presidency in 2008. Ma Ying Jeou has introduced a more open relationship with Beijing which has led to a more stable situation.

BBC. 2014. China and Taiwan in first government talks. Accessible online at

Brown, M. 2004. Is Taiwan Chinese? The impact of culture, power, and migration on changing identities. University of California Press.

Chinese Government. 2000. The One China Principle and the Taiwan Issue. Accessible online at

Keat Tok, S. 2013. Managing China’s sovereignty in Hing Kong and Taiwan. Palgrave MacMillan.

Lin, CY. and Roy, D. 2011.  The Future of United States, China, and Taiwan relations. Palgrave MacMillan.

Theo Tritton


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