China’s strategy towards Taiwan

Authored by: Sheryn Lee

Security and Conflict in East Asia

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9781857437171
eBook ISBN: 9781315850344
Adobe ISBN:


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The primary purpose of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is to ensure regime survival and to maintain political power over the Chinese state. Conversely, the national objective of the Chinese state is to protect the political legitimacy of the CCP by way of upholding its core interests, namely its territorial sovereignty claims. The promotion of the ‘one China’ policy under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework demonstrates its belief in the indivisibility of China and is a key driver of its military strategy in the Asia-Pacific – to deny the USA access to the ‘first island chain’, and the defence of its near seas through anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) and dominating its neighbours (Erickson 2014: 61). A key element in the success of this strategy is maintaining its territorial claim over Taiwan (Republic of China) and achieving (re)unification, if necessary by force. In its 2013 Defence White Paper, the government of the People’s Republic of China stated that ‘the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and their activities are still the biggest threat to the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations’ (Information Office of the State Council 2013).

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