Taiwan lies at the heart of the growing confrontation between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and it remains the only issue that could plausibly trigger a war between the two countries. Taiwan is claimed by the PRC as Chinese territory, and its government is unrecognized by all but a handful of states today. But it is also a prosperous liberal democracy of more than 23 million people, a major trading partner of both the U.S. and the PRC, and the source of more than 90 percent of the world’s most advanced semiconductor chips. This talk will cover how the US-PRC-Taiwan relationship got to this point, what each side’s foremost interests and long-term strategies are, and whether those have changed in recent years with Xi Jinping’s centralization of power and the apparent elimination of term limits on his tenure. It will also cover the current debates in Washington over Taiwan policy, and what approaches might best ensure that peace can be maintained across the Taiwan Strait for the indefinite future.
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