Two years into the Tsai Ing-wen administration, the domestic and international landscapes look very different for Taiwan. Beijing suspended formal cross-Strait dialogue following Tsai’s inauguration and embarked on a campaign of pressure against Taiwan. Uncertainty has pervaded U.S.-Taiwan relations as the Trump administration’s commitment to and engagement in East Asia as a whole has been questioned, and sparked fears that Taiwan will be inadvertently drawn into diplomatic clashes between the United States and China. On the home front, the economy is growing but the benefits of growth are still unevenly distributed. Public support for Tsai’s administration has lagged amid criticism of some of her policies. Political polarization continues unabated. What do these developments mean for Taiwan’s present and future?
On May 30, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies co-hosted a discussion on the current state of affairs on Taiwan. Panelists addressed domestic politics and the economy on Taiwan, U.S.-Taiwan relations, and cross-Strait relations and tensions.
Brown Professor and Assistant Dean for Educational Policy - Political Science Department, Davidson College
Senior Policy Advisor - Covington & Burling LLP
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[Regarding the Pyongyang declaration] We should recognize that 13 years ago [North Korea] agreed to far bigger concessions. Kim is trying to turn back the clock and set the terms of what he is willing to talk about. These are minuscule moves on Kim’s part and we should treat them accordingly.
[Regarding the lack of detailed progress in North Korea's disarmament] I’m shocked at how superficial things have been...I think the North Koreans smell dysfunction and they see dysfunction in [President Trump]’s tweets and his compliments and his willingness to meet again.