Statehood Theory and China's Taiwan Policy

17 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2015

See all articles by Liu Yulin

Liu Yulin

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: October 31, 2015


The Taiwan issue remains the major concern of the Chinese government even though cross-strait tension has been significantly eased. Since Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008, great achievements have been made in economic cooperation: flights, ships and postal deliveries may now travel directly from one side to the other without detouring through a third territory; about one thousand mainland tourists are allowed to visit the island each day, up from a trickle in the past; one hundred sectors have been opened up to mainland investors; a memorandum of understanding on financial cooperation has been signed, and a free-trade agreement is being negotiated and is anticipated to be concluded within 2010. Nevertheless, both sides admitted that these are relatively easy steps among the many problems to be tackled. When it comes to the difficult part, such as Taiwan’s international status and removal by mainland China of missiles currently aimed at Taiwan, the Chinese government finds itself in a dilemma. Ma Ying-jeou has repeatedly called on mainland China to withdraw missiles targeting the island. To build mutual trust, removal of the missiles might be the wisest course. However, China has good reason to worry about what could happen in the event that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) returns to power after China removes the missiles. With regard to Taiwan’s international space, China faces the same concern that if greater space is granted to Taiwan, the DPP, once it resumes power, might abuse Taiwan’s international presence to pursue Taiwan’s secession from China.

Suggested Citation

Yulin, Liu, Statehood Theory and China's Taiwan Policy (October 31, 2015). Tsinghua China Law Review, Vol. 2, 2009, Available at SSRN: or

Liu Yulin (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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