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Going Ballistic: The Taiwan Strait Crisis at 20

December 13, 2016 @ 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Tuesday, December 13, 2016
1:30 PM to 4:00 PM
The Conference Center at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

In June 1995, Taiwan’s President, Lee Teng-hui, visited Cornell University to give a speech on democracy. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) responded with a series of coercive military actions which precipitated a major crisis in the Taiwan Strait. Beijing viewed the prospect of an internationally recognized Taiwanese democracy as a severe threat to its legitimacy and panned President Lee’s visit as a reversal of perceived American commitments to respect its version of the “one China” policy. In the wake of this historic event, the PRC began to rapidly build-up its military capabilities for a future Taiwan conflict scenario. For its part, the U.S. increased strategic dialogues, training exchanges, and arms sales to Taiwan. Now, 20 years after the Crisis, the military and political calculus across the Taiwan Strait has changed. China is far better able to execute military operations across the Strait, but Taiwan is also better prepared to defend itself. Recently, China has abducted Taiwanese citizens abroad, limited Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, and conducted threatening military exercises. Given the trend lines before us, it is ever more important to evaluate the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, and explore its implications for the future of the Asia-Pacific.

This conference will bring together a distinguished group of experts for a timely discussion on China’s behavior before, during, and after the Crisis, with a special focus on the Chinese military. Panelists will also examine the ways in which U.S.-Taiwan relations were strengthened after the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, and address some of the outstanding weaknesses which remain.

Randy Schriver

President & CEO, The Project 2049 Institute 

Abe Denmark

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, Department of Defense 

Amy Chang 

Former Staff Director, Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, House Foreign Affairs Committee

Ian Easton

Research Fellow, The Project 2049 Institute 

Shirley Kan

Former Staff, Specialty in Asian Security Affairs, Congressional Research Service

Moderator: Rachael Burton

Research Associate, The Project 2049 Institute 

Carolyn Bartholomew

Vice Chairman, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

Tiffany Ma

Senior Director for Political and Security Affairs, The National Bureau of Asian Research 

Mark Stokes

Executive Director, The Project 2049 Institute 

Moderator: Rupert Hammond-Chambers

President, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council 


December 13, 2016
1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
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