ABOUT THE LECTURE: Many policy makers and analysts agree that the Taiwan Strait is the most likely contingency in a future US-China major conflict. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has once again brought this topic to the public attention with the widely shared concern “Could Taiwan be next?” Indeed, a massive Chinese military modernization program, the PRC’s overall military strategy focused on the Taiwan theatre and its recent military as well as diplomatic actions vis-à-vis Taiwan all highlight the potential for a military stand-off. The mainland continues to propagate “one country, two system” as the only solution to the “Taiwan issue” and the acceptance of the “one China principle” as the prerequisite for any bilateral consultations. At the same time, as a result of decades of democratic experiences and living in the shadow of a more and more autocratic and revisionist neighbor, “Taiwan consciousness” – a distinctively Taiwanese identity – has massively gained ground on Taiwan so that Beijing’s “one country, two systems” formula is flatly rejected in Taipeh. Both sides of the Taiwan Strait are moving in opposite directions even though there still is a remarkable web of economic interdependence. This lecture provides an overview of the most contentious issues, the drivers of conflict and possible forces of cooperation as well as the role of third-parties so as to establish indicators and variables that are most likely decisive in shaping the future of cross-strait relations.
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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
Chinese Studies Department
Taiwan Lecture Series
University of Zurich KOL – G-217 A, Rämistrasse 71 Zoom