Cross-Strait Series: The Next US-Taiwan Arms Sales

June 9, 2017 - 9:00 am

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW
Washington, DC

Cross-Strait Series: The Next US-Taiwan Arms Sales

A discussion with:
Mr. Ian Easton
Research Fellow
Project 2049 Institute

Mr. Abraham Denmark
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia
US Department of Defense

Ms. Susan Lawrence
Specialist, Asian Affairs
Congressional Research Service

Moderated by:
Ms. Shannon Tiezzi
The Diplomat

Please join the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security for a discussion about the next US-Taiwan arms sales and its implications to cross-straits relations and regional security dynamics. The Trump administration is said to be drafting a new arms package for Taiwan that could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles. The package is expected to be significantly larger than one that was shelved at the end of the Obama administration, US officials told Reuters on the eve of a visit to Beijing by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson two months ago. Besides exploring elements of this upcoming arms sale and how it might affect Taiwan’s defense and security, this event will examine possible Chinese reactions if the arms package includes various advanced weapons system, implications for cross-straits relations, the US-China relationship, and how the arms sales package fits into the Trump administration’s broader strategy in the Asia-Pacific.

This Atlantic Council event is part of the Cross-Straits Series of the Brent Scowcroft Center's Asia Security Initiative, which examines strategic and current affairs surrounding cross-straits relations.

On Twitter? Follow @ACScowcroft and use #ACAsia

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on-the-record. 

VISITING THE COUNCIL: Metro and parking info 


Ian Easton is a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, where he conducts research on defense and security issues in Asia. During the summer of 2013 he was a visiting fellow at the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA) in Tokyo. Previously, Ian worked as a China analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) for two years. Prior to that, he lived in Taipei from 2005 to 2010. During his time in Taiwan, he worked as a translator for Island Technologies Inc. and the Foundation for Asia-Pacific Peace Studies. While in Taiwan, he also conducted research with the Asia Bureau Chief of Defense News. Ian holds an M.A. in China Studies from National Chengchi University in Taiwan and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He also holds a certification in advanced Mandarin Chinese, having formally studied the language at Fudan University in Shanghai, and National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. 

Abraham Denmark is an expert on US national security strategy and foreign policy toward the Asia-Pacific with experience both inside and outside government. From 2015 through January 2017, Mr. Denmark served as US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia. Prior to this position, Mr. Denmark was Senior Vice President for Political and Security Affairs at The National Bureau of Asian Research. He has also worked as a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security and held several positions in the US Department of Defense and intelligence community. In January 2017, Mr. Denmark received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. He also received the Order of the Resplendent Banner from the Republic of China (Taiwan), was made an Honorary Admiral in the Navy of the Republic of Korea, and was named a 21st Century Leader by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. Mr. Denmark holds an MA in International Security from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and received a BA in History with Honors from the University of Northern Colorado.

Susan Lawrence is a is a specialist in Asian affairs at the Congressional Research Service, a unit of the Library of Congress that provides the US Congress with authoritative, nonpartisan research and analysis. She covers the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, with a focus on political and security issues. Ms. Lawrence joined CRS after a career spent largely in journalism, including eleven years as a Beijing-based staff reporter for major US publications. Ms. Lawrence holds an AB magna cum laude in East Asian studies from Harvard College and an AM in regional studies – East Asia from Harvard University. She also studied in the History Department of Peking University for two years as an undergraduate.​

Moderated by:

Shannon Tiezzi is Editor at The Diplomat. Her main focus is on China, and she writes on China’s foreign relations, domestic politics, and economy. Shannon previously served as a research associate at the US-China Policy Foundation, where she hosted the weekly television show China Forum. She received her A.M. from Harvard University and her B.A. from The College of William and Mary. Shannon has also studied at Tsinghua University in Beijing.