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Cross-Strait Relations One Year into the Ma Administration

The Foreign Policy Research Institute assembles a group of experts to discuss the development of relations between mainland China and Taiwan in the year since Ma Ying-jeou became president of the Republic of China.

May 11, 2009 12:00am

Monday, May 11, 2009
1:00-3:30 P.M.

Relations between mainland China and Taiwan have developed rapidly in the year since Ma Ying-jeou became president of the Republic of China.  Regular quasi-official negotiations, suspended for more than a decade, have resumed.  Building on foundations laid under Ma’s two predecessors, the two sides have forged new accords on key economic issues, following an agenda of “economics first, politics later” and “easy first, difficult later.” 

At the same time, Ma faces domestic troubles, including the political consequences of a struggling economy and charges from Taiwan’s principal opposition party that rapprochement with Beijing is imperiling Taiwan’s de facto independence or sovereignty and its security. 

On the PRC side, the policy, closely associated with Hu Jintao, of long-term tolerance for the cross-Strait status quo and providing enough progress to make Ma’s agenda politically viable faces uncertainty after the harvesting of early, easy gains and amid continuing skepticism about the wisdom of extensive accommodation.  Both the recent progress and the unsettled future raise policy challenges for the United States as well.

To discuss these issues, FPRI has assembled a distinguished group of experts:

Zhou Zhongfe: Director of Department of World Economy, Shanghai Institute of International Studies and visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. Working on US-China-Taiwan economic relations.

Shih-chung Liu: Visiting Fellow at the Center for Northeast Asian  Policy Studies, Brookings Institution.  Counselor and Senior Counselor to the President of Taiwan (2000-06) and Vice-Chair of the Research and Planning Committee in Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-08).

Emerson Niou: Professor of Political Science and Director of the Program in Asian Security Studies at Duke University.  Co-author of The Balance of Power (Cambridge University Press, 1989).

Shelley Rigger: The Brown Professor of East Asian Politics at Davidson College and Senior Fellow at  FPRI. Rigger's FPRI essays on Taiwan can be found at:

Jacques deLisle: Director of  FPRI’s Asia Program and Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law at the  University of Pennsylvania. deLisle's FPRI essays on China and Taiwan can be found at:


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