Cross-Straits Series: Conflict in the Taiwan Strait?

February 9, 2016 - 12:30 pm

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

Cross-Straits Series
Conflict in the Taiwan Strait?

A conversation with:
Roger Cliff
Nonresident Senior Fellow, 
Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security
Atlantic Council

Tiffany Ma
Director of Political and Security Affairs
The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR)

Thomas L. McNaugher
Professor in Practice and Director of Studies, 
Center for Security Studies

Georgetown University

Moderated by:
Shannon Tiezzi
Managing Editor
The Diplomat
Taiwan's elections on January 16 resulted in both its new president and, for the first time, a majority of legislators being from pro-independence parties. This has raised concerns about how Beijing will react. The official China Daily stated after the election that if president-elect Tsai Ing-wen does not accept that Taiwan is part of China, she will be leading Taiwan in the direction of "conflicts and tension." Underscoring the point, the mainland military recently conducted amphibious landing exercises along its coast opposite Taiwan. Would China actually use force against Taiwan? And under what circumstances? What are the current capabilities of China's military? Does it have the ability to force Taiwan to unify with the mainland? 

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 


Roger Cliff is a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security where he researches East Asian security issues with the Asia Security Initiative. Previously, he has worked for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the Project 2049 Institute, the RAND Corporation, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and VERAC, Inc. He has authored, coauthored, or edited more than thirty books, articles, book chapters, and op-eds on topics including China's military doctrine and training, China's defense industries, and US strategy and policy in the Asia-Pacific. He received his PhD in international relations from Princeton University and holds an MA in Chinese studies from the University of California, San Diego, and a BS in physics from Harvey Mudd College.

Tiffany Ma is Director of Political and Security Affairs at NBR. She directs program management and project development for the Political and Security Affairs team. In addition, she serves as the Project Lead for several initiatives, including the People’s Liberation Army Conference, U.S.-China Relations in Strategic Domains, Asia Maritime Security, Mapping Pakistan’s Security Dynamics, and Approaching Critical Mass: Asia's Multipolar Nuclear Future. Prior to joining NBR in 2013, Ms. Ma was a Research Associate at the Project 2049 Institute, an Asia policy think tank in the Washington, D.C., area. She has also worked at the International Crisis Group in Beijing; the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.; and the Refugee Council of Australia in Sydney. Her research interests include Asian security, U.S.-China and cross-strait relations, and the Arctic. Ms. Ma holds an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was also a Public Service Fellow and a Belfer International and Global Affairs Student Fellow. 

Thomas McNaugher is Professor in Practice and Director of Studies at Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies. Before leaving the RAND Corporation in June 2011 to join the Security Studies Program faculty, Dr. Thomas McNaugher was a Senior Analyst at RAND and Director of its Center for Asia Pacific Policy (CAPP). From June 2001 to March 2007, he was RAND’s Vice President for Army Research and Director of the RAND Arroyo Center, the Army's federally-funded research institute. From 1981 to 1995, Dr. McNaugher was first a Research Associate and, after 1989, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the editorial board of Joint Forces Quarterly. 

Shannon Tiezzi is Managing 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 U.S.-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.