The 'China Threat' in the Eyes of the Taiwanese: A Reflection on Taiwan's Security Policy, 1988-2008

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dc.contributor.advisor Booth, Ken en
dc.contributor.advisor Suganami, Hidemi en
dc.contributor.author Chen, Ching Chang
dc.date.accessioned 2008-12-11T14:53:35Z
dc.date.available 2008-12-11T14:53:35Z
dc.date.issued 2008
dc.identifier.citation Chen, Ching Chang, The 'China Threat' in the Eyes of the Taiwanese: A Reflection on Taiwan's Security Policy, 1988-2008, (2008) en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2160/1553
dc.description.abstract This thesis investigates the relationship between Taiwan’s threat perceptions and its national identity formation, with a focus on Taipei’s foreign policy conduct. Its central question is: how is China seen as a threat in contemporary Taiwanese security discourse and why? The current literature about the political formation of Taiwanese nationalism specifically points to threats from the mainland as a crucial condition in giving rise to an independent Taiwanese national consciousness. The thesis questions the idea that Taiwan’s perception of the China threat has caused the rise of Taiwanese nationalism through analyses of the ways in which China is viewed as an economic, political, and military threat in mainstream Taiwanese security discourse as well as their underlying assumptions and internal consistency. Inspired by David Campbell’s alternative approach, which conceives foreign policy as a practice of enhancing identity rather than an instrument employed by the pre-existing state to deal with external dangers and uncertainties, it suggests that Taiwan’s growing national consciousness is in part constituted by its repeated claim that there exists a China threat. Looking closely at Taiwan’s security policy with respect to China that works to constitute the identity in whose name it operates, the thesis further considers the political consequences of adopting those predominant modes of interpreting China as a threat. Drawing mainly upon Richard Ned Lebow’s insight that any intelligent formulation of national interests are inseparable from justice, the thesis is wary of the harmful effects of Taipei’s identity strategies at home and abroad, for their lack of ethics at the core. Perceptions of the China threat in Taiwan thus not only point to the island’s insecurity in terms of its national identity’s lack of pre-discursive foundations, but also reveal its inability to cultivate an identity which does not rely on demonising Others and other ethically unacceptable strategies. ‘China threats’ in the eyes of the Taiwanese are in this sense more like a symptom of their difficulty in ‘becoming Taiwanese’ than a cause of such a transformation. en
dc.description.sponsorship Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation
dc.description.sponsorship British International Studies Association Founders Fund
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject China en
dc.subject Taiwan en
dc.subject Security Policy en
dc.title The 'China Threat' in the Eyes of the Taiwanese: A Reflection on Taiwan's Security Policy, 1988-2008 en
dc.type Text en
dc.publisher.department Department of International Politics en
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en
dc.type.publicationtype doctoral thesis en


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