Dr. Harris introduces this issue of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, tackling the topic of Taiwan.
Integrating Taiwan more formally into regional deliberations and processes would make countries more aware about the shared risks of a cross-Strait conflict.
This article examines why the US commitment to Taiwan is “rock-solid” and why it must remain so.
There is a vast asymmetry of interests between China and the United States on the Taiwan issue, which leads to the asymmetry of resolve. That will be the crucial factor affecting the situation in the Taiwan Strait in the future.
This article examines how Taiwan’s enhanced military defenses have increased its capacity and capabilities to resist Chinese military threats, despite some drawbacks, and has thus contributed to the cross-Strait security’s stability.
While reunification is undoubtedly important to Chinese president Xi Jinping, his clear priority is to achieve the “China Dream”—something that Xi has explicitly invited Taiwanese to share in but regarded as a separate and higher-order goal than political reunification.
Any future confluence of views on the status quo regarding Taiwan is becoming increasingly unlikely—and with it, any common baseline for cross-Strait discourse between the two sides. This is an overlooked, yet fundamentally important, aspect of cross-Strait relations.
March 2021 Full Issue
Dr. Peter Harris, editor
This, the first “Indo-Pacific Perspectives” roundtable from the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, will offer some answers to the complex geopolitical (and “geolegal”) questions facing the region. As the name suggests, this new series of roundtables will showcase viewpoints from across the Indo-Pacific megaregion (and sometimes beyond). The goal is to facilitate a dialogue between academics and policy practitioners that will be of great interest—and, we hope, considerable use—to an international cast of scholars and decision makers whose work focuses on the Indo-Pacific.
The Indian Ocean is not characterized by rampant territorial disputes and Chinese assertiveness, as the Pacific is. From such characterizations, it seems clear that US strategy is still focused on the Pacific segment of the Indo-Pacific and less so the Indian Ocean, which remains a secondary theater for US defense planners.
Dr. Benjamin Tze Ern Ho
Beijing’s realpolitik vision of international politics leads it to conclude that most countries who aligned with the United States in the past did so not because of some higher ideational motivation (for instance, to preserve individual human rights, or believing that democracy was the best form of governance) but because their own national interests—often materially defined—were best served subscribing to the American-led international order. A Chinese-led order could therefore expect to command similar levels of support.
Dr. Laura Southgate
China’s response to the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling provides a window through which to examine both the existence of a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and its future prospects as China increasingly seeks to exert its influence in the international system.
Dr. Kei Koga
Japan needs to provide a clear strategy to realize the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy in the context of the rapidly evolving US-China great-power rivalry.
Dr. Titli Basu
Beijing’s ascent in the international order and the ensuing disequilibrium in the balance of power between the United States and China at the global level, and China and India at the regional level, are making policy elites in New Delhi fiercely debate key strategic choices in pursuit of the national interest. Stakes are high with trade, technology, the fourth industrial revolution, and infrastructure all defining great-power contestation in the strategic theater of the Indo-Pacific.
The rules-based international order led by the West is undergoing a crisis, with post-World War II (“liberal international”) institutions seeming particularly vulnerable to the relative decline of the United States. Meanwhile, the tectonic shift of power from the West to Asia has intensified the geopolitical and strategic relevance of the Indo-Pacific, with China’s challenge to US leadership (alongside the rise of regional middle powers) amplifying existing criticisms of the international rules-based order as inadequate or biased.
Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar
Faced with increasing great-power competition, ASEAN has billed itself as a bridge to promote dialogues and cooperation within an inclusive regional architecture to build trust, foster preventive diplomacy, and resolve conflicts through peaceful means, that in turn may contribute to a more inclusive rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.
Dr. Peter Harris, et al
December 2020 Full Edition
The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents.