U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations in the Run-up to 2012 Elections in Taiwan and the U.S. and Leadership Transition in China

Eased tensions and increased economic integration between Taiwan and Mainland China in recent years have contributed substantially to the stabilization of the triangular relationship among Taiwan, China and the United States. In 2012, presidential elections will be held in both Taiwan and the U.S., with the possibility that current leaders Ma Ying-jeou and Barak Obama will be re-elected or voted out of office and replaced by political opponents. China's President Hu Jintao will step down from his position as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party at the 18th National Party Congress in the fall and relinquish his position as state president in the spring of 2013. These political processes and their unknown outcomes invariably introduce a degree of uncertainty into the U.S.-China-Taiwan relationship.

In this paper, Bonnie Glaser examines the dynamics at work during the run-up to the elections in Taiwan and the U.S. and China's Party Congress, and explores the implications for U.S.-China-Taiwan relations of possible leadership and policy changes. The paper was originally presented at the conference on Facing the Challenges of Cross-Strait Relations in 2012 at the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace on July 7-8, 2011. You may access further information and video from the conference at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2011/07/07/challenges-to-cross-strait-relations-in-2012/kd3

Bonnie S. Glaser