Dr. T.Y. Wang, University Professor and chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, has published a co-authored study in Political Science. With an increasingly powerful and assertive China as its neighbor, Taiwan, as a small state, is in a conundrum. The article, “Balancing, Bandwagoning or Hedging,” examines Taiwan’s strategic choices in the era of a rising China.

Employing survey data collected during the past two decades, this study examines how Taipei’s cross-Strait policy has been closely associated with the public’s preferences. Because Taiwan citizens reject a unification under Beijing’s terms, the bandwagoning policy has never been considered as an acceptable strategy. A pure balancing policy is also unpalatable due to the enormous costs and associated risks. Instead, the island citizens are generally supportive of setting aside the sovereignty dispute with a rapprochement approach toward China. Hedging has thus become a preferred strategic option for most Taiwan citizens. The public’s support for a hedging policy has shifted recently due to China’s aggressive conduct and America’s supportive policy toward Taiwan.

Because Beijing’s assertive behavior is expected to persist and the Biden administration will remain supportive of Taiwan, Taipei’s strategic choice is likely to have a stronger balancing component. The cold and tense cross-Strait relationship dating back to 2016 is expected to continue beyond the tenure of Taiwan’s pro-independence, incumbent government.