The Cipher Brief is proud to launch ‘The Question’, designed to make us think forward, consider broader scenarios and challenge each other in constructive ways on the plausibility of future geopolitical events.  In our first edition, Cipher Brief Expert Tim Willasey-Wilsey poses the question: Why would China not invade Taiwan ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: In recent weeks, peaceful demonstrators in Hong Kong have gathered in large numbers to protest a controversial extradition bill with Mainland China. Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam has indefinitely suspended the bill but recently ignored protesters’ demands to withdraw the bill completely. Since 1997, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: The U.S. Congress was recently notified about a potential arms sale between the U.S. and Taiwan, estimated at close to $2 billion. Beijing has expressed serious concern about the deal, claiming that it violates the ‘One-China’ policy that Washington has agreed to uphold. The arms ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Earlier this month, China released footage from a military exercise where the ‘Guam killer’ DF-26 ballistic missile was tested. In the 21stCentury, China has increasingly focused resources on modernizing its military to match its economic power. Chinese military modernization presents the most significant challenge to ...

Bottom line: Beijing aimed skyward with its latest attempt to expand areas of influence, unilaterally opening up several flight routes including one between Shanghai and Hong Kong that is uncomfortably close to Taiwanese airspace -- another step in its diplomatic and military pressure campaign to coerce Taiwan to rejoin China. ...

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The recent public threat by a senior Chinese diplomat to invade Taiwan, should U.S. naval vessels dock on the island, illustrates the increasingly precarious position of one of the region’s few democracies. Mixed signals from President Donald Trump, his administration and the U.S. Congress have only escalated ...

On Thursday February 9th, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had their first phone call. Accounts from both sides described the call as productive and cordial. Most importantly for the future of the bilateral relationship, Trump affirmed U.S. recognition of the “One-China Policy,” reversing an uneasy start to ...

On November 25th, six Chinese aircraft—two nuclear-capable H-6K bombers, two Su-30 fighters, and two surveillance planes—participated in an exercise near Taiwan’s airspace. Four of the craft, in an especially provocative move, circled the island. This was the first time China’s planes had done so. A Taiwan defense spokesman said there ...

The December 2nd phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is the first such communication between a U.S. president or president-elect and a Taiwanese president since 1979. This poses major questions about the foreign policy direction of the incoming administration and how far it is willing ...

Tsai Ing-wen’s inaugural address and Beijing’s reaction to it have done nothing more than confirm the fact that has been evident for the past few months: cross-strait relations are entering a period of stalemate. The mainland’s position was reaffirmed in the post-inaugural statement of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office. ...

The Presidency of Tsai Ing-wen, which began on 20 May, promises even more “interesting” developments in relations across the Taiwan Strait. China’s communist government has always had a deep allergy to the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which Tsai represents, because it regards Taiwan as a renegade province that must ...

All eyes are on Tsai Ing-wen today as she takes office as Taiwan’s first female president, but Beijing in particular will be watching closely to see how Tsai transforms her party’s independence-leaning rhetoric and her contrasting promise to preserve the status quo into policy towards China.  Tsai’s actions must balance ...

In advance of today’s inauguration of Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan’s first female president, The Cipher Brief interviewed Randy Schriver, founding partner at Armitage International LLC and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs, to ask about the cross-strait implications of this change in leadership. As ...

As Tsai Ing-wen officially takes office as Taiwan’s first female president, she will face the difficult task of balancing the competing interests of her political supporters in Taiwan and an increasingly antagonistic China. The Cipher Brief sat down with Bonnie S. Glaser, Director of the China Power Project and Senior ...

For the first time in Taiwan’s history, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) controls both the Presidency and the Parliament, and that development has all eyes focused on China, because the DPP leans in favor of independence from the mainland. Tsai Ing-wen won the election with 56 percent of the vote, ...

Taiwan’s upcoming election has received considerable attention regarding its potential impact on cross-strait and U.S.-China relations. Following eight years under the Kuomintang (KMT) party and improvements in cross-strait relations, Taiwan is poised to elect its first female president in Tsai Ing-Wen, a Western educated leader of the Democratic Progressive Party ...

Probably the only certain aspect of the China-Taiwan relationship is its uncertainty, which has never been more apparent than in the upcoming Taiwanese presidential and legislative elections. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), whose foundational platform advocates the independence of Taiwan from mainland China, is expected to win the presidency.  And ...

The expected victory of Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential elections threatens to destabilize relations across the Taiwan Straits, and the Asia-Pacific more broadly. Tsai represents the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a pro-independence party. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province of descendants of the Kuomintang (KMT) government, which lost ...

For American policymakers, Taiwan has been an oasis of calm in a turbulent region during the past eight years.  But that may be about to change. When President Ma Ying-jeou of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang (KMT) party was elected in 2008, he made rapprochement with mainland China the centerpiece of his ...

On the heels of his tour of the western world, Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou for 20 minutes this Saturday in Singapore. Despite the short length, it’s groundbreaking - this will be the first time the leaders of these two governments have met since ...