Building Trust Across the Taiwan Strait
Bonnie Glaser, Senior Fellow, CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies
Michael Green, Senior Adviser & Japan Chair, CSIS
Ralph Cossa, President, Pacific Forum, CSIS
Since the inauguration of Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan’s president in May 2008, relations between Taipei and Beijing have improved at a rapid pace. The resumption of quasi-official talks between the two sides of the Strait has led to a series of landmark agreements. Among other promising results, the commencement of direct flights, shipping, and postal services have been important steps toward reconciliation. Nevertheless, officials and scholars on both sides of the Strait recognize that progress has thus far been limited to relatively easy issues and that addressing such delicate, yet critical, topics as sovereignty and military deployments will require a prolonged period of time and greater political trust.
Cross-Strait military confidence building measures (CBMs)—efforts to improve military-to-military relations in ways that reduce fears of attack and the potential for military miscalculation—are one possible path for alleviating mistrust between Beijing and Taipei. To better understand how officials and experts on both sides of the Strait are thinking about pursuing military CBMs and creating appropriate conditions for cross-Strait discussions of CBMs, a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)-led delegation visited Taipei and Beijing August 24-28, 2009. Bonnie Glaser, Senior Fellow in the Freeman Chair in China Studies will discuss the findings of the trip, including recommendations for how Taiwan, Mainland China, and the United States can further create an environment that is favorable to establishing military CBMs.