Taiwan's International and Cross-Strait Relations

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 3
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

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

  • 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


This module will be taught over 10 weeks with:

  • 1 hour lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week 

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: Essay 70%
PS1: Presentation 30%

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


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.