China Leadership Monitor

Taiwan's Legislative Yuan Elections and Cross-Strait Security Relations: Reduced Tensions and Remaining Challenges

Sunday, January 30, 2005

In 2004 severe pessimism in Beijing about long-term trend lines in relations across the Taiwan Strait raised prospects for conflict over the next few years. However, Taiwan's December 2004 Legislative Yuan elections surprised observers on both sides of the Strait and in the United States. The inability of pro-independence parties to obtain a majority of seats makes it more difficult for them to push through controversial constitutional revisions that may be red lines for PRC military action against Taiwan. Despite mixed trends in the state of cross-Strait relations—manifested on one hand by agreement on two-way, nonstop charter flights between Taiwan and the mainland for the Chinese New Year and on the other by Beijing's pending "anti-secession" legislation—the atmosphere is markedly better than it was last year, and the likelihood of military conflict over the next two to three years seems appreciably lower than it did just a few months ago.