Aircraft Carriers in the Taiwan Strait

Aircraft carriers are a major factor in cross-strait strategic stability.

Aircraft Carriers in the Taiwan Strait

By Vasilis Trigkas

The recent landslide victory of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan’s local elections is drawing attention to the fragile détente between China and Taiwan, which has been at the core of the U.S.-China relationship for more than half a century. With the Shanghai Communiqué, Washington has openly declared its commitment to the One China policy with the sole condition of a peaceful and non-coercive cross-straits dialogue. It has also recognized Beijing’s political representation in international organizations over Taipei’s. At the same time, though, Washington has used its maritime superiority to limit Beijing’s tactical or strategic space in the event of a “strait crisis.”

If left unchecked, however, the DPP’s position on Taiwan’s independence – which is written into the party’s founding constitution and is part of its national narrative – has the potential to exacerbate security tensions in the Taiwan Strait. While any military scenario has been well simulated on both sides of the Pacific, the adverse implications for China-U.S. relations leave no space for military opportunism, even if one side predicts tactical victory.

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