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Near-term Instability in the Taiwan Strait?
Nationalist Constituencies in the PRC and Cross-Strait Stability
Author: James Manicom
Volume 3, Number 1 (February 2007), pp. 65-78.
This article illustrates how growing nationalist pressures in Chinese government and society could pressure governing elites into a demonstration of force in the Taiwan Strait in the near future. In doing so, it challenges the two prevailing orthodox assessments of cross-Strait security. The first views the cross-Strait relationship as tense but stable, the second views war between the US and China in the Strait as inevitable in the long term. In contrast, this article contends that a military crisis is possible in the short term as a result of internal domestic pressures on the leadership. In a crisis over Taiwan, Chinese leadership elites will be under pressure from three domestic sources that could inhibit their ability to pursue a conciliatory solution. These three sources are: hardline elements of the PLA, remaining Third Generation elites, and nationalist segments of the population. It concludes with an examination of the policy implications for all actors in the Strait. In short, it is imperative that the Fourth Generationís Taiwan policy appears to be making progress towards reunification.
About the Author
James Manicom is currently pursuing a PhD at Flinders University and edits the Flinders Journal of History and Politics. His dissertation examines maritime territorial disputes in East Asia and is funded by an Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship. He is indebted to Andrew OíNeil, Michael Sullivan, Alex Stephens and the reviewers and editors at Security Challenges for comments on earlier drafts of this article. firstname.lastname@example.org.