Taiwan has enjoyed great success in forging a strong democracy and developing its economy. However, it still faces a number of future internal and external challenges. Today, a group of panelists convened at AEI to look at these challenges and their implications for Taiwan’s future in the Asian century. To begin the first panel, Shelley Rigger emphasized that both the United States and Taiwan need to recognize the value of Taiwan’s democracy as a main connector in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. Mark Stokes addressed Taiwan’s growing security challenges, including its political isolation and the increasing strength of the Chinese military, and detailed several key questions for the country to consider in formulating its security strategy. Szu-yin Ho, in addition to addressing the principles and methods of Taiwan’s security strategy, pointed out that negative demographic trends will force the government to make difficult choices between “guns and butter” to address Taiwan’s economic and security issues.
In the second panel, Jean-Pierre Cabestan outlined the debate within the European Union on relations with Taiwan and concluded that this debate and discussion within the United States on the same issue are interconnected. Dan Twining pointed out the often-overlooked importance of Japan in Taiwan’s security calculus and the need to strengthen that bilateral relationship. AEI scholar Claude Barfield discussed the rise of bilateral economic partnerships in Asia, as well as the future implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Asian regionalism. Finally, Randy Schriver countered arguments of those who advocate for the United States to abandon Taiwan, arguing that the United States should continue to support Taiwan through arms sales and other means.