SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Taiwan's International and Cross-Strait Relations

Module Code:
153400166
Credits:
15
FHEQ Level:
5
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Term 2

This is a unique undergraduate module focusing on Taiwan’s relations with China and its international politics. Indeed, the island’s relationship with China and its contested statehood are two of the most intensively studied topics in the field of Taiwan Studies. Thanks to its critical geo-political role Taiwan’s development is also highly relevant to any attempt to understand contemporary China and East Asian affairs.

Against the background of the island’s international relations during the period of the Cold War, lectures will explore Taiwan’s search for international space since the 1970s, as well as the evolution of cross-Strait relations under the administrations of Chen Shui-bian (2000-08), Ma Ying-jeou (2008 to 2016), and the newly-elected DPP president Tsai Ing-wen. Students will look at the theoretical approaches that best explain Taiwan’s international politics and relations with China. 

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Provide policy relevant analysis of Taiwan’s international politics
  • Make formal oral class presentations and engage in discussions on the subject
  • Employ political science and international relations frameworks to analyse Taiwan’s external politics
  • Enable students to gain a better understanding of the complex and often conflicting relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait
  • Engage with the academic literature on Taiwan’s international political development
  • Produce analytical written work on Taiwan’s international politics

Workload

2 hours lecture per week

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introduction to Taiwan’s International and Cross-strait Relations
  2. Origin and Nature of Political Conflict across the Strait
  3. Taiwan’s International Relations in the Cold War
  4. International isolation for the contested state after Democratization
  5. The thaw and freeze of Cross-strait relations (1987-2000)
  6. Turning Point: Cross-Strait Relations under the DPP, 2000-2008
  7. Getting Closer to China: Cross-Strait Relations under Ma Ying-jeou
  8. Saying Goodbye to China: Cross-Strait Relations under Tsai Ing-wen
  9. China’s Evolving Taiwan Policy 
  10. The Role of the US in Cross-Strait conflicts 

Method of assessment

Assessment is 70% coursework (one 3000 word essay) and 30% oral presentation.

Suggested reading

  • Geldenhuys, Deon (2009). Contested States in World Politics. Houndmills, Basingstoke, HA and New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Kastner, Scott L. (2018), “International Relations Theory and the Relationship across the Taiwan Strait.” International Journal of Taiwan Studies; Vol. 1 Issue: 1 p161-183
  • Hickey, Dennis V. (2006). Foreign Policy Making in Taiwan: from Principle to Pragmatism. London and New York: Routledge
  • Cabestan, Jean-Pierre and deLisle, Jacques (eds.) (2014). Political changes in Taiwan under Ma Ying-Jeou: Partisan conflict, policy choices, external constraints and security challenges. Abingdon, Oxon; Routledge
  • Tucker, Nancy Bernkopf, Ed. (2005). Dangerous Strait: the U.S.-Taiwan-China Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press
  • Roy, Denny (2003). Taiwan: A Political History. Ithaca: Cornell University Press
  • Lee, Wei-chin (ed.). (2010). Taiwan's Politics in the 21st Century: Changes and Challenges, Singapore; Hackensack, N.J.: World Scientific
  • Dittmer, Lowell (ed.). (2017). Taiwan and China. University of California Press

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules