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Taiwan and China’s Military Buildup: Part 4 of Election ’08 and the Challenge of China

Two-way trade between Taiwan and China exceeded $100 billion last year and more than one million people from Taiwan are living and working in China. Nonetheless, the Taiwan issue continues to loom large in U.S.-China relations. It and China's efforts to expand and strength its military are the focus of the fourth segment in the USC U.S.-China Institute's documentary on the 2008 election and U.S.-China ties.

October 6, 2008

Click here to go to the main Election '08 and the Challenge of China page.

Taiwan is routinely cited by Chinese as one of the issues most likely to produce conflict between the U.S. and China. The U.S. supplies weapons to Taiwan’s military, but the American government has firmly opposed any Taiwan declaration of independence. The U.S. calls on the officials on both sides of the strait to work collaboratively towards a peaceful and enduring resolution of Taiwan’s status. Since the end of U.S.-Taiwan relations, Taiwan has become a thriving democracy. Ma Ying-jeou became president of Taiwan on May 20, 2008 and has pledged to work towards better ties with the mainland.


This video is also available on the USCI YouTube Channel.

Click here to view China's Growing International Clout, part five of Election '08 and the Challenge of China.

Speakers in this segment include:


Jeffrey Bader, director, John Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution and advisor to Barack Obama; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, Director of Asian Affairs, National Security Council, Assistant Trade Representative for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

Dan Blumenthal, fellow, American Enterprise Institute and advisor to John McCain; former Vice Chairman, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commision, country director for China and Taiwan, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Kenneth Lieberthal, professor, University of Michigan and advisor to Barack Obama; former Senior Director for Asia, National Security Council

Clark T. Randt, Jr. , U.S. Ambassador to China

J. Stapleton Roy, managing director, Kissinger Associates and director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson Center, former Ambassador to China and Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research

Michael Swaine, senior associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; former chair and director of the RAND Center for Asia-Pacific Policy

Additional Resources



Barack Obama, "Letter to Ma Ying-jeou," May 22, 2008

Congressional Research Service, "Security Implications of Taiwan's Presidential Election of March 22, 2008," April 4, 2008

Congressional Research Service, "China Naval Modernization -- Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities," updated April 4, 2008

U.S. Dept. of Defense, "Military Power of the People's Republic of China," March 3, 2008

U.S. Department of Defense News Briefing, Adm. Keating following Kitty Hawk incident, 2007


U.S. Deputy Asst. Sec. of State Thomas Christensen, "A Strong and Moderate Taiwan," September 11, 2007

Congressional Research Service, “Taiwan: Recent Developments and U.S. Policy Choices,” updated Sept. 2007

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on security in Asia: America is more engaged than ever, 2007

Congressional Research Service, "Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990," 2007

PRC State Council White Paper, "China's Space Activities," October 12, 2006

U.S. Assistant Sec. of State Christopher Hill, "Emergence of China in the Asia-Pacific: Economic and Security Consequences for the U.S.," June 7, 2005

PRC National People's Congress, "Anti-Secession Law," March 14, 2005

PRC State Council White Paper, “China’s Policy on ‘Three Direct Link’ Across the Taiwan Straits,” 2003

Taiwan Relations Act, 1979

Agencies / Organizations

American Institute in Taiwan

PRC Central Military Commission

PRC Taiwan Affairs Office

Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office

Taiwan Government, Mainland Affairs Office

U.S. Department of Defense

USCI and US-China Today Articles

Damon Ferrara, "How Young Taiwan Votes," June 20, 2008

Pauline Yang, "Keeping Their Distance: Young Taiwanese Women and Politics," June 20, 2008

"USCI Symposium Explores the Taiwan Vote," March 31, 2008


Marc Liu, "Taiwanese Pop in China," January 23, 2008

Please contact Clayton Dube at the USC U.S.-China Institute (1-213-821-4382 or with questions about the documentary and its themes or screening inquiries. The documentary is also available at the USC U.S.-China Institute’s channel at YouTube.