SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Will China 'forcefully reunify' Taiwan? The potential problem of Wishful Thinking in Beijing, Taipei, and Washington

THIS EVENT IS ARCHIVED
CTS-IMG-PeterGries
Peter Gries & Tao Wang

Date: 8 May 2019Time: 4:00 PM

Finishes: 8 May 2019Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Senate House Room: SWLT

Type of Event: Talk

Abstract

Will China 'forcefully reunify' Taiwan? The potential problem of Wishful Thinking in Beijing, Taipei, and Washington

“We do not forsake the use of force,” Chinese president Xi Jinping warned on January 2, 2019. While he also spoke of the “peaceful reunification” of Taiwan, the tone and context of Xi’s speech suggested a final warning shot. Positioning himself as the gentleman who advocated peace, Taiwan president Tsai Ying-wen is depicted as a villain opposing peace—so responsible for a subsequent conflict. Seen as a double “window of opportunity,” 2019 is shaping up to be a dangerous year in the Taiwan Strait. Wishful thinking in Beijing, Taipei, and Washington is increasing the odds of miscalculation. Xi and many Chinese nationalists desperately desire reunification, and appear to have convinced themselves that it can be accomplished by force. Trump’s isolationist “America First” rhetoric and volatile China policies have only encouraged such reckless thoughts. And many Taiwanese appear to suffer from learned helplessness, remaining passive in the face of a threat they cannot control…

Speaker Bio:

Peter Gries is Lee Kai Hung Chair and Director of the Manchester China Institute, and Professor of Chinese Politics, at The University of Manchester. He studies the political psychology of international affairs, with a focus on Chinese and American foreign policy.

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Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

Contact email: ml156@soas.ac.uk