The Double-edged sword of coercion

cross-strait relations after the 2016 Taiwan elections

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Whereas "optimists" argue that military conflict in the Taiwan Strait has become increasingly unlikely, "pessimists" warn that conflict remains a real option. The landslide victory for the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of President Tsai Ing-wen in the January 2016 presidential and legislative elections adds fire to the debate. The DPP win makes a peaceful unification on China's terms an ever-distant prospect. Since the election, Beijing's strategy has rested on pressuring Taipei into accepting the "1992 consensus" as the precondition for constructive relations. However, this article argues that strategies of "coercion" are a double-edged sword for China: its very success in deterring Taiwan from declaring formal independence has backfired as far as compelling the island from accepting unification on its terms. While pessimism about a new period of cross-Strait tensions is premature, the Taiwan Strait remains a volatile regional flash point in East Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-65
Number of pages16
JournalAsian Politics and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • coercion
  • cross-Strait relations
  • regional stability
  • Taiwan
  • Tsai Ing-Wen

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