Games, changes and fears: Exploring Taiwan's cross-Strait dilemma in the Twenty-First Century


This article examines Taiwan’s cross-strait relations with China by analyzing the linkages between their respective security interests and free trade objectives in the twenty-first century. It argues that these entanglements induce a scenario akin to the prisoner’s dilemma that compels Taiwanese leaders and policymakers to preserve the Chinese-dominated cross-strait status quo. To enhance their political appeals during general elections, the major political parties in Taiwan are being forced to cooperate with each other, albeit artificially. By adopting a parallel, watered-down approach to sensitive political issues, particularly with respect to Taiwan’s sovereignty status, the omnipresent China factor is being legitimized further. Such an approach homogenizes the parties’ political agendas with respect to Taiwanese autonomy which leads to the island’s perpetual entrapment within the One-China trajectory. Using original and secondary sources in the empirical analysis of the security–trade nexus mainly from the Taiwanese perspective, the article highlights the slow yet steady co-optation of Taiwan’s sovereign interests within China’s sinicization project.

Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs