Taiwan threatened post-Cold War stability, as it had during the 1971–89 U.S.-China “tacit alliance.” In the mid-1990s, tensions mounted, with the potential for a triangular confrontation generating conflict. Taiwan’s silence over Deng Xiaoping’s “one country two systems” formulation for Hong Kong and Macao—also aimed at Taipei—raised the stakes. President Lee Teng-hui adopted an assertive tone before Taiwan’s first legislative elections in December 1995, and presidential polls the following March. In 1994, the PLA conducted a command-post exercise (CPX)—using communication links, but no troops—in which commanders refined joint-services maneuvers aimed at occupying Taiwan if ordered. This exercise provided the template for events that followed.5 In January 1995, Jiang Zemin elaborated Deng’s offer in his “8-point proposal.” After reunification, Taiwan would retain its domestic and foreign economic and technical structures and practices. Exercising “a high degree of autonomy,” Taiwan would maintain legislative and judicial independence “including that of final adjudication.” It would retain its political, administrative, and military institutions; none would be sent from the mainland. Instead, some central posts would be offered to it.6


Intellectual Property Right Democratic Progressive Party Turbulent Time Ballistic Missile Missile Launch 
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© S. Mahmud Ali 2008

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