Taiwan’s Strategic Goals and Action Plan
Author: Jean-Pierre Cabestan Published: 2012-05-31
Taiwan’s Strategic Goals and Action Plan
Paper prepared for the Concluding Session of the Seminar
A New Strategy for a New Era:
Revisiting Taiwan’s National Security Strategy
The Center for Security Studies (MCSS), National Chengchi University &
The Centre for International Security studies, University of Sydney
Taipei, 27-28 August 2011
Taiwan’s national security environment is both a simple and complex one. It is simple because the only country and military power that can really threaten Taiwan’s security and survival is the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Consequently, what Taiwan apparently needs to do is to both accurately evaluate the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s capacities to successfully defeat Taiwan’s armed forces and put together a military strategy powerful and credible enough to derail such plans. Taiwan’s national security environment is also complex for a series of well-known reasons: 1) Taiwan or, to be legally more accurate, the Republic of China (ROC) is not—and will probably never be—a “normal country” because of the PRC sovereignty claim over its territory and refusal to even recognize the “ROC on Taiwan” (ROCOT) as a nation-state with full international status; 2) Taiwan’s vital reliance upon the United States’ security guarantee—the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA)—, arms procurement and military cooperation/coordination in a context of increasing economic and financial interdependence as well as strategic competition between the first and the second world powers; 3) likewise, Taiwan’s relationship with mainland China is made both of unabated ideological rivalry and military tension, on the one hand, and growing economic cooperation as well as government-to-government and people-to-people interactions, on the other hand; 4) The Taiwanese are divided not only over the long-term relationship with mainland China—unification or perpetuation of the status quo and Taiwan’s de facto independence—but also over the foundations (the “one China principle” issue) and the pace of the current interactions; 5) Taiwan’s relationship with China is and will increasingly be asymmetrical, compelling the former to identify and adopt additional and creative strategic objectives and methods—goals and action plans—to balance this asymmetry and guarantee its long term security and survival.
For all these reasons, therefore, Taiwan’s national security cannot be guaranteed only by military means. While national defense has always been and will remain a key pillar of Taiwan’s national security, strategic goals and action plans of different and complementary nature—diplomatic, political, ideological, economic and societal—have contributed and, arguably, will increasingly contribute to guaranteeing the island’s security and the ROCOT survival.
Before developing these points, a caveat: as alluded to above, it is understood in this presentation that long-term divisions and speculations about Taiwan’s future status are left aside even if they may affect some Taiwanese politicians’ national security goals. It is accepted here that the main objective of Taiwan’s national security is to protect the ROCOT sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence so that the Taiwanese can decide and continue to decide freely about their current polity and policy choices as well as their future.
Taiwan’s national defense strategy
Since Taiwan’s national defense issues have already been addressed by real experts in the previous sessions, I will not try to duplicate or supplement their analyses and conclusions. I will limit myself to emphasizing two constraining realities before venturing a few proposals.
The first reality is, as indicated above, the growing bilateral military unbalance or asymmetry in the Taiwan Strait. In order to address and partly correct this asymmetry, Taiwan needs to keep a credible defense able to deter any PLA attack. A credible defense is here understood as the capacity of a state, including a weaker state, to maintain a military that can convince any potential and more powerful aggressor that the cost of a military attack against this state would be very high, and hopefully unbearable for the latter in view of the benefits it can yield from this attack.
From a military viewpoint, there are two ways of deterring a potential aggressor: nuclear or conventional means. Since the nuclear option has been excluded under the pressure of the US, Taiwan’s sole protector, for more than two decades, only a conventional deterrence and asymmetrical strategy can be contemplated.
Can a weak conventional military power deter a much stronger military power from attacking? To be sure, deterrence does not only rely on military means but can also include economic, financial and even political incentives. But the overall economic and diplomatic asymmetry in Taiwan’s relation with the PRC compels the former to develop and keep a military able to achieve asymmetrical counter-attacks against the mainland and, especially, PLA attack and power projection capabilities. We can discuss about the role of neutralizing military objectives on the mainland or at sea in an asymmetrical strategy and the best methods and weapons to conduct these missions. Some in the US have recently argued that missiles (e.g. the supersonic anti-ship missile Hsiung-feng III, abusively labeled by some “carrier killer” or the HF-2E, a land-attack cruise missile capable of hitting targets on the mainland) are more useful and efficient than fighters, making a case for not delivering the F-16 C/D asked by Taipei. Other American experts have asked the Taiwanese Navy to focus on “sea denial” with the support of “swarms of small surface and subsurface combatants” able to wage a “people’s war at sea” and abandon the concept of surface action groups (SAG) and ambitious objectives as securing sea-lanes and breaking maritime blockades. Though Taiwan has developed since 2009 a high-tech missile fast corvette, also dubbed “carrier killer” because it is equipped with powerful anti-ship HF-3 missiles, apparently this new weapon has not yet affected Taiwan’s official naval strategy. In any case, controlling the air above the Strait remains vital for Taiwan in any type of war scenario, so modernizing and expanding the ROC Air Force fleet is still indispensable.
The other constraining reality is the need for Taiwan political authorities as well as military to keep a close strategic partnership with the US and, more specifically, to better coordinate their defense policy and military strategy with the Pentagon and the US Pacific Command. Being the junior partner of any military alliance (as Japan) is never easy; but being the junior partner of a loose and ambiguous security arrangement is even trickier. Having said that, Taipei is far from having always given Washington the impression that it is totally serious about its national defense and its military modernization plan, for reasons that I will try to briefly develop below.
There has been an exaggerated criticism, especially in the US, that heavy weapons requirements were made public by the Taiwanese government mainly for political reasons, US arms’ promises and deliveries underscoring before anything else the solidity of America’ support for Taiwan’s security. It is also true that Beijing’s expected negative reactions to some highly visible and symbolic weapon deals, as today the F-16 C/D, have to be carefully managed by Washington, and arguably, more carefully managed than before. Although the 1992 F 16 A/B deal already triggered fierce protests from the PRC, this country was much weaker and the US much stronger, both economically and militarily, at the time. In any event, since the 1995-96 missile crisis, the US and Taiwanese militaries have noticeably improved their coordination and are better prepared to an armed conflict in the Strait than before.
However, both under Chen Shui-bian and under Ma Ying-jeou, national defense has not been granted the priority it should have in view of Taiwan’s more dangerous security environment. First, money matters: Taiwan’s defense budget has been at best stagnating, at worst decreasing in real terms since 1999 (2.2% of GDP in 2011 against 3% promised by Ma Ying-jeou in 2007). This is especially a problem today, at a time Taiwan has decided to carry out a delicate and costly transition to an all-volunteers military. This transition has been long-overdue and should enhance the quality and the capability of Taiwan’s armed forces, particularly the Navy and the Air Force. But clearly, other public policies (e.g. infrastructure development and social policies) have again and again been given precedence, both for economic and electoral reasons.
However, money cannot address all challenges; two of them have become more acute in the last decade or so, as Taiwan’s relationship with the PRC is deepening and, more recently, improving.
The first challenge is Taiwan’s will to fight. This is a complex issue which solutions depend upon multiple factors and policies. There is a growing sense among some segments of the Taiwanese elite and society that: 1) war is unlikely; 2) improving relations and reaching some kind of understanding with Beijing are more important; and 3) if by any change a war breaks out, the ROC armed forces won’t be able to do much and will have to move out of the way to let the US do the job; in other words, Taiwan’s survival as a de facto independent entity will depend upon the US’s will to fight or, on the contrary, intention to find a compromise with the PRC.
This is what I would call Taiwan’s security paradox: on the one hand, the PLA’s military and especially missile threat is regularly and ritually evoked by Taiwanese politicians, often for domestic reasons, but, on the other hand, no Taiwanese feels that this threat can really jeopardize the status quo and the ROCOT survival.
Obviously, it won’t be easy to reconcile the two branches of this paradox but serious consideration should be given to it and more frequent public; bi-partisan national security debates should be conducted in order to instill in the Taiwanese society a more realistic appreciation of its country’s security challenges and measures to address them. Increasing the political elite’s awareness upon Taiwan’s security situation is one possible answer; strengthening the bound between the military and the nation is another one; for that reason, keeping a four month required basic training for all young men after the fazing out of the drafting system is a sensible decision; I would just suggest to expand this requirement to all young female Taiwanese; but more communication work about the necessary financial and human sacrifices required for preserving Taiwan’s security and sovereignty/independence should also be actively initiated.
The second challenge is PRC espionage in Taiwan. This is not a new problem but it has become more severe as a result of the growing interactions across the Taiwan Strait. But here again the danger may not be where some media or segments of the public see it; for instance, ROC retired military officers may be tempted to provide classified information to their PRC friends or acquaintances when traveling to the mainland; however, one should be aware of the fact that the type of information that they may hold is usually very rapidly outdated. Chinese tourists approaching military facilities have been identified as another potential risk. Here again, in an open and democratic society, military bases and equipments are well-known and there are better and more sophisticated ways to hide sensitive military facilities and equipments from curious eyes. The most exposed targets are active military officers who have access to sensitive data, especially the personnel involved in intelligence activities. The arrest in November 2010 of Taiwan Military Intelligence Bureau Colonel Lo Chi-cheng, accused of providing to the PRC intelligence about Taiwan’s spies network on the mainland is indeed a troubling case that may indicates how deeply gangrened by PRC agents are the island’s military espionage and counter-espionage networks.
This degree of infection has for some time alerted the attention of the US and led the Pentagon to factor in this weakness when contemplating arms transfers to Taiwan. Although some additional restrictive measures have been recently adopted by the Ma Administration (targeting in particular retired military personnel asked to refrain from travelling to the PRC where some have ended up in jail…), the game seems increasingly asymmetrical, and perhaps hopeless, making the US military to think twice before transferring its most sophisticated and advance weaponry to Taiwan.
Taiwan’s management of cross-Strait relations
Since 2008, the Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) have resumed top-level exchanges. Both semi-governmental organizations have been able so far to negotiate 15 economic and technical agreements, including a symbolic Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in June 2010. These exchanges as well as the direct contacts and negotiations that Beijing and Taipei’s governmental agencies (ministries, etc.) hold more and more frequently contribute to stabilizing cross-Strait relations and even initiating what I have called elsewhere a “creeping normalization” of these relations. In that respect, the development of government-to-government relations across the Strait has enhanced Taiwan, and arguably the ROCOT’s national security. As the unprecedented emergence of commercial and people-to-people relations as well as direct air and sea links across the Strait, they contribute to establishing de facto non-military confidence-building measures (CBM) between Beijing and Taipei.
Nevertheless, as we all know, there is still a great deal of ambiguity in and powerful limitations to this creeping and unrecognized “normalization”. The PRC is always prone to utilize Taiwan’s political divisions to push its advantage in a relationship which is already a very asymmetrical one. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s inclination to discuss politically more sensitive issues directly with the Kuomintang (KMT) should be considered with great caution. Similarly, while the establishment of non-official contacts between Beijing and the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) can only be welcomed, the former’s objectives should not be not be overlooked: it is to divide the green camp and woo the DPP moderates and try to convince them to endorse the “92 consensus” and the “one China principle”. In other words, instead of fighting each other on the reality of this “consensus”, the blue and the green would be well inspired to use this internal disagreement as a leverage and try to convince Beijing that it should move beyond the “92 consensus” if it wants to reach out all the Taiwanese and initiate inclusive and credible political discussions.
Likewise, the ROC and the PRC identical territorial claims over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands or in the South China Sea should not lead to any common strategy across the Strait, and Ma Ying-jeou’s caution on this issue is well-founded. On the contrary, Taiwan’s most advisable position and strategy would be to ask for a total respect of the status quo, the establishment of more constraining “rules of the roads” regarding joint cooperation (fishing and oil exploration) in the grey areas (e.g. contested Exclusive Economic Zones) and a strong promotion of the peaceful resolution of these issues, through a return to and an expansion of the 2002 Phnom Penh agreement and, possibly, an appeal before the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Although the opening of military CBM negotiations would not modify the widening bilateral military imbalance in the Strait, they are conducive to improving Taiwan’s national security. Because of the island’s deep political divisions, the Ma Ying-jeou administration has been very reluctant to initiate military CBM talks. It still puts as a condition to the opening of any negotiations a dismantlement of all the PLA missiles targeting Taiwan.
Yet, on this issue, I am wondering whether it would not be in Taipei’s interest to initiate negotiations, or at least preliminary talks, before Beijing makes this move. A symbolic gesture—the withdrawal or dismantlement by the PLA of some of its (oldest) missiles based in Fujian or Jiangxi perhaps on the eve of Taiwan’s next presidential election—may be seized as an occasion to do so. But, my point here is to invite Taiwan to contemplate disconnecting military CBM talks from political negotiations.
If Su Chi is to be believed, some kind of minimal military CBMs may have already been discussed through secret channels, presumably to avoid and better manage incidents in the Strait. But these channels have not always prevented incidents from occurring: in late July 2011, two PLA Su-27 fighters crossed the Strait midline after they shadowed a US U2 reconnaissance aircraft flying in the international air space across the Strait. Moreover, secret channels are not sustainable if genuine military CBMs and substantial arms reductions are to be negotiated. In the current circumstances, the most likely format of CBM talks would be to attach “military advisers” of both sides to the SEF and the ARATS. Opening military-to-military discussions between two states that do not recognize each other would not be impossible in view of the track record of SEF-ARATS talks. Although these talks, again, are not designed to correct the military imbalance in the Strait, they would help both militaries to establish direct, albeit non-official contacts, on the model of other PRC and ROC governmental agencies, to better prevent or manage military incidents in the Strait and contribute to improving Taiwan’s security.
For understandable reasons, Taiwan has focused a great deal on the missile threat. However, in my view, military CBMs should encompass a wider range of issues, keeping in mind that the conventional missiles aimed at Taiwan constitute just a small portion, and arguably a decreasing part, of the PLA forces that can be projected against the island today and in the coming years.
As Taiwan’s security is increasingly depending upon the US, an obvious question needs to be raised: should these CMB negotiations remain bilateral, or should they also involve the United States? China has acknowledged that any alleviation of the military tension in the Taiwan Strait is closely linked to US arms sales to Taiwan. Although Hu Jintao has not officially reiterated his predecessor Jiang Zemin’s October 2002 proposal to decrease the number of missiles deployed against Taiwan in exchange of an end of US arms sales to Taiwan, this potential bargaining stance remains very much in the mind of the Chinese leadership. For Taiwan and the US, this remains a non-starter in particular in view of the July 1982 “six assurances” given by the latter to the former (e. g. not to consult Beijing on the weapons delivered to Taipei). At the same time, neither Beijing nor Taipei seems to welcome direct participation by Washington in any CBMs in the Taiwan Strait. It would put Beijing in a weaker position and risk expanding and complicating the issues that need to be discussed. The risk for Taipei would be of adding factors of contention in the talks and being sidelined in a deal between the two great powers above Taiwan’s head. What Ma Ying-jeou or any KMT government would hope is to receive strong US support to initiate such talks in order to alleviate DPP’s concerns. It can be assumed, however, that Washington would like to be closely consulted if and when CMB talks are initiated.
Taiwan’s strategic partnership with the USA
As we have seen, there is a strong security and military dimension in Taiwan’s non-official relationship with the US. But there is also an important political facet to it. Yet, it seems that the mililitary-to-mililitary relations between the ROC armed forces and the Pentagon are closer and more trustworthy, or in other words in better shape than the political relations between the Taipei civilian authorities (Presidential Office, NSC, MOFA) and Washington (both the State Department and the NSC).
To be sure, no junior partner in any security arrangement shows all its cards to its senior partner—and vice versa, of course. Taiwan never did, when ruled by the Chiang family or later under Lee Teng-hui or Chen Shui-bian, and will probably never totally do. Yet, as Taiwan’s national security and survival are increasingly dependent upon the US, it is in the island’s interest to enhance communication and understanding with its only protector.
In that respect, it would be useful that the Ma administration better explains the content and the limits of Taiwan’s current “rapprochement” with China. “Rapprochement” is a heavily charged concept which was applied for instance to the changes that occurred in the US-China relationship in the early 1970s to counterbalance the USSR growing military might and improve the PRC’s security. Clearly, the cross-Strait “rapprochement” is not being forged against any one, but at the same time, does it accurately characterize the changes in cross-Strait relations that we have been witnessing since 2008? Can the deepening economic and societal exchanges, the improving political relations and the military quasi-détente that have been taking place in the Strait in the last three years be qualified as an overall “rapprochement”. I personally doubt it for two main reasons: 1) China continues to openly threaten Taiwan militarily; and 2) the current improvement of cross-Strait relations is far from having been endorsed, let alone qualified as a “rapprochement” by the DPP. There may be a CCP-KMT “rapprochement” across the Strait, although some KMT politicians may question this assumption; but there is no rapprochement between the PRC and the ROC. For these two reasons, I think that this term is misleading for Taiwan’s partners (and not only the US and China) and as a result dangerous for Taiwan’s security. Said differently, the improvement of Taipei’s relations with Beijing should much more directly depend upon the abandonment by Beijing of the threat to use force and the PLA’s withdrawal of weapons from the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
As far as the US is concerned, this so-called “rapprochement” is obviously feeding doubts among some segments of the US political elite about Taiwan’s long-term intentions. It is understandable that, as a small and ill-recognized nation-state situated at the doorstep of the PRC, Taiwan does not enjoy the same freedom as the US to confront China, when need be. The question is whether the accommodations made by Taipei in the last three years on several commercial (e. g. direct air links, opening Taiwan to PRC investments), political (e. g. human rights, Tibet, Xinjiang), and security (downgrading of military maneuvers and field training exercises, Quemoy’s demilitarization) issues would put the island in a dependence situation susceptible to jeopardizing its security and de facto sovereignty, and, as a result, the foundations of the US-Taiwan security relationship and, particularly, the TRA. So far the accommodations accepted by the Ma administration have not per se. But they have contributed to narrowing Taiwan’s options and capacity to say “no”, modifying its outside perception and feeding the debate, in the US and elsewhere, about Taiwan’s risks of “Hongkongization”.
The debate taking shape in some US circles since 2009 or so about the “unsustainability” of the US-Taiwan security arrangement may be perceived as marginal. Yet, it underscores growing US doubts both about Taiwan’s lack of commitment for its security and American military power’s ability to keep in the longer-term, and even in adopting an increasingly asymmetrical strategy, its protection over Taiwan. The question is not so much the US military’s capacity to sustain a war and prevent Taiwan from being submitted under military constrain. It is more about the growing potential cost of deploying such a capacity in view of China’s unabated assertiveness and unification plan with Taiwan, the PLA’s rapid modernization drive and the risks attached to any armed conflict involving two nuclear powers. As China is getting more powerful and assertive, the discrepancy between what Taiwan represents for Beijing and for Washington is widening: Taiwan is a vital or “core” interest for the former, not for the later.
In order to make sure that these doubts remain marginal, Taiwan should better communicate with the US administration, refrain from being distracted by secondary commercial issues (as the beef dispute), and demonstrate to the latter that it can shoulder its share of the security burden. If these objectives are met, the US will be less tempted to take its distance from the “six assurances” given by Ronald Reagan in July 1982.
On its side, the Obama Administration should make sure that it stays consistent with past policies and does not become too “sensitive” to China’s concerns, feelings, threats and choleric hyperboles, especially regarding arms sales that, ironically, it does not blame Ma to buy.
Taiwan and the world
Taiwan’s communication effort should also target its other key partners, particularly Japan, the ASEAN, the European Union and South Korea. It is fair to say that all of them have welcomed the cross-Strait relations’ current improvement. At the same time, the questions raised by some in the US can only influence these countries’ think tanks and decision-makers. In addition, Taiwan’s stance and strategy on China’s maritime territorial disputes, if not, as indicated above, carefully managed, are prone to affect negatively its relations with Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and even Malaysia while it is in Taiwan’s interest to remain closer to these countries than to the PRC.
Again, in order to be more visible in and better understood by the outside world, Taiwan should strengthen its domestic consensus about its mainland policy. This is not an easy task since the major political divide still rotates around identity issues and the island’s short-, mid- and long-term relationship with the PRC. However, as Beijing is moving towards a quiet acceptation of the status quo and the silent coexistence of two separate Chinese states—the PRC and the ROC or “one China, two governments” as Tsinghua University’s expert Chu Shulong recently proposed—, the Taiwanese political elite should grasp the occasion to reach a more comprehensive and sustainable basic agreement about cross-Strait relations in its three major dimensions: economic, political and security.
Finally, the Ma administration has rightfully started to promote Taiwan’ soft power as a foreign policy and national security tool. Taiwan’s soft power is stronger than many may presume: it is not only its democratic polity, improving rule of law and largely free media; it is also enshrined in a very dynamic and by definition autonomous civil society, its multiple NGOs and its religious organizations.
All these attributes can be more actively and efficiently utilized to enhance Taiwan’s soft power and indirectly consolidate Taiwan’s national security. It is clear that Taiwan should be more vigilant about the CCP’s united front strategy and increasing capacity to influence, through indirect financial participation and in developing dependence situations, the island’s political and business elites, media, opinion leaders and public opinion at large. In that regard, reaching out the swelling crowds of PRC tourists flocking on the island is not enough. Taiwan needs also to deploy more aggressively its soft power on the mainland, especially through a more robust support of its NGOs and religious organizations’ activities there.
It also needs be more aware of the PRC’s economic, financial, social and also political vulnerabilities and better factor them in its own national security calculus. Particularly, the Taiwanese government should plan a series of contingency plans if economic or social difficulties or political instability erupt on the mainland. In other words, the Taiwanese should be both more self-confident and better prepared to the PRC’s future uncertainties.
This presentation looks like a long and rather easy to establish but more difficult to implement laundry list of “must do”. The good news is that the increasing flow of economic and quasi-governmental exchanges as well as people-to-people contacts across the Strait is feeding interdependence and understanding as well as consolidating stability and peace between Taipei and Beijing. In other words, for all the three actors involved—Taiwan, China and the US—it makes the cost of war every day more unbearable and therefore the risk of war more unlikely. The bad news is that asymmetry between China and Taiwan is widening, not only from a military point of view; and that time seems to be on the PRC’s side to gradually compel Taiwan to become more accommodating and eventually gives in to its political demands without having to resort to any kind of armed conflict.
To contain or manage these dangerous trends, Taiwan still holds four trump cards: a meaningful defense, US support, democracy, and what I have elsewhere called a “sovereignist consensus” on the ROCOT’s survival. If it plays these cards well, it can guarantee its national security and hold on until the PRC changes, hopefully, for the better.
 Robert Haddick, “This Week at War: Rumsfeld’s Revenge”, Foreign Policy Website, July 2011, quoted in Taipei Times, 15 July 2011.
 James Holmes & Toshi Yoshihara, Defending the Strait: Taiwan’s Naval Strategy in the 21st Century, Washington DC, Jamestown Foundation, July 2011.
 Straits Times, 12 April 2010.
 Taipei Times, 23 July 2011.
 Shelley Rigger, “When the Going Gets Tough: Measuring Taiwan’s Will to Fight,” American Political Science Association conference, Chicago, 2 September 2004. Jean-Pierre Cabestan and Tanguy Le Pesant, L’esprit de défense de Taiwan face à la Chine. La jeunesse taiwanaise face à la tentation de la Chine (Taiwan’s will to fight China: Taiwanese youth and China’s temptation), Paris, L’Harmattan, 2009.
 There were reports in Taiwan in 2009 claiming that Ma Ying-jeou had called for a truce and that the National Security Council had ordered the National Security Bureau to stop recruiting agents to work inside the mainland (Ziyou shibao, 13 February 2009). These more recent incidents indirectly prove that these claims were unfounded.
 On this issue, I have to admit that I disagree with the proposals of PRC-ROC joint efforts to safeguard sovereignty over disputes territories in the South China Sea made by a group of Taiwanese and Chinese academics in the recent volume published by the MacArthur Center for Security Studies of the Institute of International Relations at Taiwan’s Chengchi National University.
 On military CBM, cf. Bonnie S. Glaser, Building Trust Across the Taiwan Strait: A Role for Military Confidence-building Measures. CSIS, Washington DC, January 2010. Cf. also Bonnie Glaser and Brad Grosserman, Promoting Confidence Building across the Taiwan Strait: A Report to the CSIS International Security Program and to Pacific Forum CSIS, Washington DC, CSIS, September 2008.
 China Post, 17 May 2010.
 Defense News, 26 July 2011.
 Yitzhak Shichor, Missiles Myths: China’s Threat to Taiwan in a Comparative Perspective, Taipei, CAPS Papers, no. 45, August 2008; Shlapak et al., A Question of Balance, op. cit.
 After her visit to China in May 2010, the US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein said China had offered to reposition its military forces opposite Taiwan to ease cross-Strait tensions. She added, however, “In my meeting with some of the leadership, it was mentioned that China had offered to redeploy back. Now I understand the word 'redeploy' isn't 'remove.' And I understand the nature of what's there and the number of troops." Reuters, 16 June 2010. Her comments were strongly criticised.
 The six assurances are: 1) The US will not set a date for termination of arms sales to Taiwan; 2) The US will not alter the terms of the TRA; 3) The US will not consult with China in advance before making decisions about US arms sales to Taiwan; 4) The US will not mediate between Taiwan and China; 5) The US will not alter its position about the sovereignty of Taiwan which is that the question should be decided peacefully by the Chinese themselves, and will not pressure Taiwan to enter into negotiations with China; 6) The US will not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. Cf. Feldman, Harvey, “Taiwan, Arms Sales, and the Reagan Assurances”, American Asian Review, Vol. XIX, No. 3, Fall 2001, pp. 75-101.
 Specifically, Ma Ying-jeou used this concept in his video address to Washington DC-based CSIS on 12 May 2011; http://csis.org/event/president-ma-ying-jeou-us-taiwan-relations-new-era
 Bruce Gilley, “Not So Dire Straits. How the Finlandization of Taiwan Benefits U.S. Security”, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2010; Charles Glaser, “Will China’s Rise Lead to War?”, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011, Vol. 90, No. 2, pp. 80-91.