Taiwan in International Politics

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This is a unique postgraduate module focusing on Taiwan’s international politics and its contentious relations with China. Taiwan’s contested statehood and Cross-strait relationship are two of the most intensively studied topics in the field of Taiwan Studies. Due to its critical geo-political role Taiwan’s development is highly relevant to any attempt to understand contemporary China and East Asian affairs. Moreover, Taiwan’s international space and its relationships with the world are tightly intertwined with its relationship with China and closely monitored by the US.

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 various administrations. Another important dimension of this module is Taiwan’s international status. The lectures will look into Taiwan’s contested statehood, its Track II diplomacy strategy, and the triangular relations between Taiwan, China and the US.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • 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
  • Provide a detailed case study of ‘contested statehood’
  • Guide students to consider the unconventional diplomatic strategies conducted by Taiwan to break through international isolation
  • 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.


This module is taught over 10 weeks with:
• 2 hour seminar per week

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: 70%
  • Presentation: 30%

Suggested reading

  • Geldenhuys, Deon (2009). Contested States in World Politics. Houndmills, Basingstoke, HA and New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Bush, Richard. (2005). Untying the Knot : Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
  • Hickey, Dennis V. (2006). Foreign Policy Making in Taiwan: from Principle to Pragmatism. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Tucker, Nancy Bernkopf, Ed. (2005). Dangerous Strait: the U.S.-Taiwan-China Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Lee, Wei-chin (ed.). (2010). Taiwan's Politics in the 21st Century: Changes and Challenges, Singapore; Hackensack, N.J.: World Scientific.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules