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Taiwan: The Consolidation of a Democratic and Distinct Society

The New Détente in the Taiwan Strait and Its Impact on Taiwan’s Security and Future

More Questions than Answers
Jean-Pierre Cabestan


At first glance, the current detente between Beijing and Taipei has been a welcome development for all parties involved in the security of the Taiwan Strait: Taiwan, China, and the United States. However, this is an armed détente in which security issues have yet to be addressed. While accelerated economic integration is allowing China to exert increasing influence over Taiwan, the threat of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has continued to intensify unabated. Taiwan’s defence effort has been stagnating in spite of the recent US package announcement, and Taiwan’s will to fight depends more and more directly upon the US commitment to Taiwan’s security. This commitment has remained strong. But the PLA’s rapid modernisation drive, coupled with China’s growing influence over Taiwan, its politicians, its business people, and its society at large, have triggered a new debate in Washington about both the sustainability of the US security commitment, enshrined in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), and its very raison d’être. As a result, more questions remain unanswered.

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Electronic reference

Jean-Pierre Cabestan, “The New Détente in the Taiwan Strait and Its Impact on Taiwan’s Security and Future”China Perspectives [Online], 2010/3 | 2010, Online since 01 September 2013, connection on 26 February 2024. URL:; DOI:

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Jean-Pierre Cabestan

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