Economic Integration between China and Taiwan: No Spillover into the Identity and Security Realms

  • Cal Clark


Since the late 1980s, there has been an explosion of economic and social transactions between the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which has created a growing integration, at least in the economic sphere. This, in turn, indicates that a good deal of amity must exist at the level of “low politics” or “people-to-people diplomacy” between the peoples of the two countries. Initially, it was hoped that the rapid expansion of these ties would almost inevitably constrain the two governments from letting their political rivalry get out of hand. Steve Chan, for example, noted in the mid-1990s that these economic interactions were little affected by the sharp swings in “high politics” between Beijing and Taipei, suggesting that they might be promoting “peace by pieces.”1 By the early part of this decade, however, it had become clear that growing economic integration across the Taiwan Strait was moving on a very separate track from the continuing, if not escalating, roils of high politics across the Taiwan Strait. This chapter, hence, examines the lack of “spillover” from economic integration and social communications into the realms of national security and identity. The first section describes the economic and social processes that are increasingly linking Taiwan to the Chinese Mainland, while the second shows that growing economic integration has been accompanied by increasing, not decreasing, tensions about national identity and security.


Foreign Direct Investment National Identity Presidential Election Economic Integration Chinese Mainland 
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© Shale Horowitz, Uk Heo, Alexander C. Tan 2007

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  • Cal Clark

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