Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

John R. Faust


This thesis is a study of the possible future developments of the Taiwan issue and the relationships between Mainland China and the island of Taiwan. After examining all the alternative scenarios, the author predicts that in the foreseeable future political and economic cooperation between Mainland China and the island of Taiwan will gradually increase, with avoidance of military confrontation, but complete reunification between Taiwan will not occur, nor will Taiwan become a legal state.

The author will examine evidence, including both domestic factors in the two parts of China and external factors, which may either reinforce the above prediction or pose other alternatives. The first part of the thesis, therefore, will examine in detail these factors, based on government policy positions and the evolution of events from 1949 to the present. Particular attention will be given to developments associated with the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s and further developments in the post-Cold War era. The evidence, up to the present, shows no clear indication that other alternative futures can be ruled out, and other possibilities will be examined in detail.

In conducting the research, the author will examine previous works by scholars, journal articles, unclassified documents, and other sources such as the media, including TV, Internet, and key newspaper material, both from Asia and the Western world. Other important sources are knowledge based on 30 years of experience in China including formal education and views of professional colleagues in China as well as at Eastern Illinois University.

Although future events may prove otherwise, the author is currently convinced that variables are too unstable and are still unfolding in ways that make it difficult to determine which alternatives will actually come true. What we can say is that any substantial progress in resolving the basic controversies between Beijing and Taipei needs time, and that the final solution perhaps will not be reached until the next generation or the generation following it.