Peace or War in the Taiwan Strait: A Game Theoretical Analysis of the Taiwan Issue
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I define the Taiwan issue as the tense relationship between mainland China and Taiwan since 1949. The tension used to arise from the belligerency between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party. In the past decade, Taiwan increasingly sought to define its own national identity and international status, but faced diplomatic and military pressures from mainland China, which has insisted that Taiwan is part of China. The relationship between mainland China and Taiwan has been one of the most important issues regarding the peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. In order to explore the Taiwan issue, this research will examine the interactions among the United States, Taiwan, and mainland China in the realist perspective of international relations. The main research questions are: What determines the costs and benefits of the security decisions of the United States, Taiwan, and mainland China regarding the Taiwan issue? What decisions should the players make based on their costs and benefits? How do these decisions form various scenarios leading to different outcomes? How have the relations among the United States, Taiwan, and mainland China evolved since 1949? This thesis is organized as follows. First, an examination of the interactions among the three players---the United States, Taiwan and mainland China---in a game theoretical model explores the costs and benefits of their security decisions and the formation of various security scenarios in the Taiwan Strait. Second, the evolution of security in the Taiwan Strait is reviewed and analyzed by applying the game theoretical model to the history of the Taiwan issue. Third, based on the game theoretical model, I make some speculations and predictions on the future relations between mainland China and Taiwan.
- Masters' Theses