Taiwan in cross-Strait relations, 1987-2004
This dissertation investigates Taiwan's role in the twists and turns in its relationship with China from 1987 to 2004. It employs the methods of both case studies and the VAR (vector autoregression) time-series analysis to assess the impact of the following four factors on Taiwan's actions toward China: (1) the democratic transition in Taiwan, (2) Taiwan's electoral politics, (3) cross-Strait economic exchanges, and (4) U.S. Taiwan Policy. The research conclusions are as follows. First, President Lee Teng-hui's rational calculation in the late 1980s guided him to launch domestic political reforms while continuing former President Chiang Chingkuo's liberalization of Taiwan's China policy. Consequently, Taiwan's democratic transition was accompanied by the appearance of a peaceful policy toward China. Second, in order to win votes from the electorate, which increasingly embraced a Taiwanese identity after the mid-1990s, Taiwanese politicians tended to launch aggressive electoral campaigns against China. Accordingly, domestic elections turned out to be a conducive factor for Taiwan's conflictual actions toward China. Third, politicians' electoral consideration also overrode Taiwanese businessmen's preference for crossStrait stability. As a result, cross-Strait economic interdependence was unable to restrain Taiwan from taking aggressive policies toward China. Fourth, because Taiwanese politicians tended not to give in to U.S. pressures during Taiwan's elections, the U.S. could not successfully stop Taiwan's provocative actions toward China as elections neared in Taiwan. It was only when Taiwanese leaders sought to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations after election seasons ended that the U.S. could induce Taiwan to act cooperatively toward China.