Tsai Ing-wen and the Weakening of the “1992 Consensus”

  • Dean P. Chen


This chapter will conclude this book by projecting how future US–China–Taiwan relations will evolve under Tsai Ing-wen. From this author’s interviews with individuals handling cross-strait relations in Taiwan, though the DPP administration is unlikely to put up an all-out challenge against Beijing’s “one China” principle, it will certainly uphold a more hostile approach by placing Taiwan closer to the US–Japanese security and economic axis. Domestically, President Tsai is also pushing for the DPP’s own nation building (also known as “cultural independence”) by pulling the island further and further away from Chinese influence without declaring de jure independence. Tsai has been more receptive to the notion that both sides are two independent states having no particular historical and cultural linkages. Tsai's task is definitely easier than her predecessors’ since more and more Taiwanese people (especially the youth) are identifying themselves more strictly as Taiwanese, not Chinese. The United States may welcome greater distancing between the two sides after Ma Ying-jeou’s eight years of deepening cross-strait ties because Taiwan could contribute more to America’s security policy towards Asia. Nonetheless, if history is any guide, Washington, even under the more seemingly pro-Taiwan Donald Trump administration that has taken office on January 20, 2017, remains unlikely to tolerate any drastic or radical moves toward independence. The Taiwan Strait is once again heading toward great quandary and, perhaps, turbulence, except this time, unlike the Chen Shui-bian years, Sino-American relations are becoming more competitive and volatile, Taiwan is drifting further away from mainland China, and that the PRC is more unyielding on many national security interests. All actors involved in this delicate balance must tread carefully.


Foreign Policy Obama Administration China Policy Taiwanese People Donald Trump 
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Author’s Interviews

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dean P. Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Political ScienceRamapo College of New JerseyMahwahUSA

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