The January 2016 elections in Taiwan, which was won by the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), have diminished the prospects for reunification with China. This, together with China’s growing economic and military power, as well as rising confidence and nationalism, have meant that the prospects of China using force to resolve the Taiwan problem has increased. However, any resort to coercion or military force by China would carry grave risks for it, as despite isolationist sentiments that underpinned Trump’s election, there is a high probability that the US would react to any attempt to coerce or attack Taiwan, given the anti-China mood in the US Congress. This could lead to uncertain consequences, such as an uncontrolled escalation into all-out conflict between the two great powers. It is thus in China’s interest to pursue peaceful means towards reunification and avoid any precipitate action that could upset the current order. It is also in the United States’ interest to remain actively engaged in the region in order to maintain stability.
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