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International Relations Theory and the Relationship across the Taiwan Strait

In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Author:
Scott L. Kastner Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, md, USA, skastner@umd.edu

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The purpose of this state-of-the-field article is to take stock of the use of international relations theory in the study of cross-Strait relations since 2000. To what degree have studies of cross-Strait relations made use of international relations theory since 2000, and to what degree has international relations theory provided useful insights for understanding Beijing–Taipei relations? I focus my attention on five topics in particular: the prospects for armed conflict in the Taiwan Strait; alliance/alignment politics and the u.s.–China–Taiwan triangular relationship; interactions between domestic politics (in Taipei and Beijing) and the cross-Strait dyadic relationship; cross-Strait economic integration in the shadow of political conflict; and the role of psychology, emotion, and identity in shaping cross-Strait interactions. For each topic, I survey recent studies that apply rigorous international relations theory to the cross-Strait relationship, and where appropriate I make suggestions for further development.

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