Is Taiwan Asia’s next geopolitical flashpoint?

Date: Jun 17, 2015

With Taiwan’s pro-independence party tipped to win next year’s presidential election, some analysts

Chua Wee Boo | age fotostock | Getty Images

Chua Wee Boo | age fotostock | Getty Images

fear that could renew tensions in cross-strait relations and risk destabilizing Asia.

“It is time to start worrying about Taiwan … Old questions about Taiwan’s longer-term future are re-emerging, and so are old fears that differences over Taiwan could rupture U.S.-China relations and drive Asia to a major crisis,” said Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University.

Despite splitting ways amid a civil war in 1949, China continues to regard Taiwan as part of its territory and has never ruled out the use of force as an option to reunify the island of 23 million. Under the stewardship of Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou, cross-strait ties have been on the mend and in recent years the two countries have developed closer economic dealings.

However, analysts feel a renewed chill in relations cross-strait ties is on the cards, after the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party in Taiwan suffered a defeat in December’s local elections, which were widely seen as a prelude to the 2016 presidential polls.

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