Taiwan's Relations With Mainland China: A Tail Wagging Two Dogs

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Taiwan's Relations With Mainland China: A Tail Wagging Two Dogs
By Chi Su
Taylor & Francis, 2008
368 pp. $150.00
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Su was chair of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council in 1999 when Taiwan's president, Lee Teng-hui, shocked not only Beijing and Washington but also most of his own bureaucracy by declaring the existence across the Taiwan Strait of a "special state-to-state relationship." Connoisseurs of cross-strait discourse viewed the statement as tantamount to a declaration of independence. Su's detailed but fast-paced account dissects Beijing's and Taipei's secret contacts in the early 1990s, the history of the so-called 1992 consensus (a term Su coined), how Lee consolidated and used power, the origins and consequences of the 1999 crisis, and how electoral dynamics shaped the evolution of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian's strategy. Su's views are partisan, thus giving insight into the thinking of Taiwan's new president, Ma Ying-jeou, whom Su currently serves as head of the Taiwanese National Security Council. His analysis of the forces that have shaped policy in all three capitals is nuanced, astute, and uniquely informed.