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Restoring the Military Balance in China-Taiwan Relations

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009

Although Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's historic rapprochement with China has ushered in a period of stability in cross-strait relations, the military imbalance between the two neighbors continues to grow. Beijing's military modernization is rapidly dwarfing Taipei's capabilities and blunting Washington's ability to defend its ally in the event of conflict. Left unchecked, this growing imbalance will make it increasingly difficult for Taipei to maintain the necessary deterrent required to preserve its independence from the mainland, and for long-term stability to prevail in the Taiwan Strait.

The calm that has pervaded the Taiwan Strait since Ma's inauguration last year is certainly a marked improvement from the saber-rattling of the past. China and Taiwan have boosted commercial relations and are on track to negotiate a far-reaching economic cooperation agreement. For all their differences, Beijing and Washington, too, seem to have recognized that mutual collaboration is needed on big-ticket issues like climate change and the global economic crisis. ...

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