Cross Strait Seminar Series

This project looks broadly at major security and economic issues impacting the strategic landscape in the Asia Pacific and how they will affect the US-China-Taiwan trilateral relationship. Past topics of discussion include growing Asian defense spending, the challenge of Chinese cyber attacks and espionage, and the impact of nationalism on security in East Asia.
  • Cross-Strait Series: The Next US-Taiwan Arms Sales

    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. The United States has long committed itself to providing Taiwan with the means to defend itself and have engaged in unofficial diplomatic relations since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. American presidents have engaged in robust arms sales to Taiwan since the Carter administration and have sold Taiwan more than $30 billion in weapons since then. Current cross-strait relations are strained, and Beijing is likely to react to any arms sale to Taiwan. How will this arms sale affect Taiwan’s defense and security, how will Beijing respond, and how will the arms sales package fit into the Trump administration’s broader strategy in the Asia-Pacific?

    On June 9, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s Asia Security Initiative hosted a Cross-Straits Series event on the next US-Taiwan arms sale. The discussion brings together Mr. Abraham Denmark, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia of the US Department of Defense; Mr. Ian Easton, Research Fellow of Project 2049 Institute; and Ms. Susan Lawrence, Specialist, Asian Affairs of the Congressional Research Service. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Shannon Tiezzi, Editor at The Diplomat.

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  • Addressing Asia’s Security Challenges

    When approaching security in the Asia-Pacific region, new trends such as deepening intra-Asian defense cooperation and significant increases in Asian defense spending, now on par with that of North America, must be considered, said an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “There is a trend of very significant increases in Asian defense spending, as well as concomitant intra-Asian defense cooperation” which provide opportunities for “multilateral hedging against some of the uncertainties associated with China’s rise,” and “in some cases North Korea,” said Barry Pavel, senior vice president, Arnold Kanter chair, and director of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

    Pavel said recent agreements between Singapore and Vietnam, Japan and Australia, India and South Korea are all examples of how Asian countries can “train together, exercise together, develop new capabilities together,” with the broad mission of promoting security and prosperity in the region.

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  • Cross-Strait Series: The Rise of Intra-Asian Defense Cooperation

    On March 7, the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a discussion on the rise of intra-Asian defense cooperation, its significance to regional dynamics, and potential implications to the US and global power dynamics. Recent partnerships range from Japan’s defense cooperation with the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as India-Vietnam, Australia-India-Japan-US, Malaysia-Indonesia-Philippines maritime cooperation, and others.

    Following a warm welcome and introductory remarks by Mr. Barry Pavel, Senior Vice President and Director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Mr. Gordon Lubold, Pentagon reporter at The Wall Street Journal moderated the panel on the increase of Asian defense spending and the evolving network of intra-Asian defense coalitions. The panel featured Ms. Lindsey Ford, director of Asian security at the Asia Society Policy Institute; Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, senior fellow at CNA Strategic Studies; Mr. Randy Schriver, founding partner at Armitage International LLC; and Mr. John Watts, non-resident senior fellow of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.

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  • Trump is Making Asia Anxious

    Exemplified by his extraordinary phone conversation with the leader of Taiwan and his tweets criticizing China, US President-elect Donald Trump’s undefined stance on Asia has created uncertainty and anxiety throughout the region.

    “The United States is a very important strategic and economic partner,” consequently, countries throughout the region are “anxious to find out what the new administration is going to do…and anxious to work with the new administration,” said Meredith Miller, vice president of Albright Stonebridge Group.

    On December 2, Trump spoke with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, in what the Washington Post reported was “a breach of protocol that could disrupt US-China ties before the inauguration.” The call was the first by a US president-elect or president since Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from China to Taiwan in 1979. Since 1979, US-China relations have been governed by the “one-China” policy under which the United States acknowledges Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China.

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  • Cross-Strait Series: What’s Next for Asia under President-Elect Trump?

    On December 2, the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a discussion on the incoming administration’s Asia policy and its potential impacts for the region. The session was led by David Wertime, a senior editor at Foreign Policy magazine.

    Following a welcome and introductory remarks by the Honorable Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., Chairman of the Atlantic Council, Wertime moderated a panel on President-Elect Trump’s Asia policy featuring Russell Hsiao, executive director of the Global Taiwan Institute; Shihoko Goto, senior associate for Northeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Asia Program; and Meredith Miller, vice president at Albright Stonebridge Group.

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  • The Future of Trade in Taiwan

    On May 26, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s Asia Security Initiative hosted a Cross-Straits Series event on the future of trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Taiwan. The discussion brings together Ms. Wendy Cutler, vice president and managing director, Asia Society Policy Institute; Ms. Tami Overby, senior vice president for Asia, US Chamber of Commerce; and Dr. Olin Wethington, nonresident senior fellow, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council. Mr. Shawn Donnan, world trade editor at Financial Times moderated the discussion.

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  • Cross-Straits Series: Conflict in the Taiwan Strait?

    On February 9, the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a discussion on the possibility and consequences of a war in the Taiwan Strait. The featured discussants were Dr. Roger Cliff, Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council; Ms. Tiffany Ma, Director of Political and Security Affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research; and Dr. Thomas McNaugher, Professor in Practice and Director of Studies at Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Shannon Tiezzi, Managing Editor at The Diplomat.

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  • Cross Strait Series: The Future of Taiwan’s Defense Role

    On December 9, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security's Asia Security Initiative hosted a Cross-Straits Series event on the future of Taiwan's defense role. The discussion brings together Ms. Joanna Yu Taylor, Adjunct Member of the RAND Corporation; Mr. Robert Manning, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security; and Mr. Ian Easton, Research Fellow of the Project 2049 Institute. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Isaac Stone Fish, Asia Editor at Foreign Policy.

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  • Cross-Straits Series: Implications of the Upcoming Taiwanese Elections to the Asia-Pacific

    The upcoming Taiwanese presidential election on January 16, 2016 has drawn increasing attention to Beijing and Taipei's relationship. In Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-wen, has been projected to defeat the ruling Kuomingtang (KMT) Nationalist Party candidate in 2016 by different polling agencies. For eight years, KMT has taken a pro-China stance, which helped stabilize the relationship between the two governments. How will the election results affect Taiwan’s relationship with China and other Asia-Pacific countries? 

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  • Cross-Straits Series: Implications of Energy Security on Critical Geopolitical, Economic, and Environmental Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region

    On May 14, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s (BSC) Asia Security Initiative hosted a Cross-Straits Series event on the effects of energy security in the Asia-Pacific. Considering the heated debates on the region today, energy security has been a relatively underappreciated and under-examined topic. This discussion with Edward C. Chow, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Van Jackson, a Visiting Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, Robert A. Manning, a Senior Fellow at BSC of the Atlantic Council, and Meredith Miller, the Senior Vice President of Trade, Economic, and Energy Affairs and Director of The National Bureau of Asian Research in DC, was moderated by Keith Johnson, a Senior Reporter at Foreign Policy, and provided insights from different perspectives on the issue.

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