The year 2012 began with presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan, and the results will help shape the trilateral relationship between Taipei, Beijing and Washington over the next four years.
Despite his stronger-than-expected showing at the polls as he was re-elected, President Ma Ying-jeou has already begun struggling with rapidly falling popularity. Ma has also seen widespread public resentment over some difficult policy decisions – decisions that he had declined to make before the presidential election, but that he felt compelled to push forward during the period between the election and his formal inauguration in May. It remains to be seen whether this signals the shape of things to come during Mr. Ma’s second term, and how his weak political standing could impact his cross-Strait and national security policies going forward.
This quarterly analysis report will provide a brief overview of significant defense and national security developments in the past few months, and will examine some of the factors that influenced the course of events during the first three months of 2012. It will examine the political environment in Taiwan, assess cross-Strait relations, look at Taiwan defense policy and defense budget issues, and appraise the status of the U.S.-Taiwan defense relationship. The report ends with an update on the current state of affairs for select Taiwan procurement programs.