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Shifting Domestic Politics and Security Policy in Japan and Taiwan: The Search for a Balancing Strategy between China and the US

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This article examines the impact of the changed domestic political environment in Japan and Taiwan in the second half of the 2000s, namely the arrival of administrations with a more moderate China policy, on their respective relations with Beijing and Washington. It seeks to find out the extent to which Japan under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and Taiwan under the Kuomintang (KMT) may have attempted a policy shift towards accommodation of China at the expense of their respective security ties with America. The article also examines how much impact upon security policy can be traced to the changes in domestic politics in the two cases. The discussion suggests that, irrespective of the altered domestic political situation, the concern that China's growing military power may adversely affect national interests has largely trumped the political will for seeking accommodation, more so in the Japanese case than in the Taiwanese case. While both Tokyo and Taipei have avoided deferring to Beijing's interests, each has sought to strike a delicate balance between engaging China and maintaining defense ties with the US.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-05-01

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