Domestic Politics and Defence Policy in Taiwan

Authored by: Michael S. Chase

Handbook of Defence Politics

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9781857434439
eBook ISBN: 9780203804278
Adobe ISBN:


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In the 1980s and 1990s, Taiwan’s military maintained a qualitative edge over the numerically superior but relatively poorly trained and equipped Chinese armed forces. Most analysts assessed that Taiwan’s defence posture was adequate to prevent China from winning a quick, decisive victory in a cross-Strait conflict, although the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) might very well have prevailed eventually barring third party intervention. Since the mid-to-late 1990s, however, Chinese military modernization has accelerated as a result of sustained double-digit increases in Chinese defence spending. Widely dismissed as a ‘junkyard army’ 20 years ago, the PLA is now becoming an increasingly professional and capable fighting force. Substantial increases in Chinese defence spending since the late 1990s reflect the priority that Beijing attaches to this impressive transformation, which includes not only the accelerated acquisition and development of advanced weapons and equipment, but also more complex and sophisticated training and exercises and the implementation of a comprehensive programme of organizational restructuring, doctrinal innovation and personnel reforms. 1

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