Melanie Kintz

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Steven Benfell

Second Advisor

Dr. Murray Scot Tanner

Third Advisor

Dr. Lawrence Ziring

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The Taiwan issue did not figure prominently in the relationship between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Japan between the normalization of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations in the 1970s and the early 1990s; other issues dominated and shaped the relationship. However, in the 1990s the Taiwan question re-emerged as a source of disturbance in the relationship between the PRC and Japan. Especially during the so-called missile crisis of 1995-1996, the Taiwan issue was pushed into the world media's center of attention and significantly affected the dynamics of the Sino-Japanese relationship. What accounts for this observable change in the importance of the Taiwan issue in Sino-Japanese relations? This is the question this thesis attempts to answer.

This thesis argues that the re-emergence of the Taiwan issue in the 1990's is primarily due to domestic changes within Taiwan and Japan. Those changes, namely democratization in Taiwan and the end of LDP single-party rule and the decline of the JSP as an opposition power with a more pacifist, non-military, anti-U.S.-Japan treaty agenda in Japan, significantly affected foreign policy-making processes in the governments involved. These changes not only altered the dynamics of the China-Taiwan relationship but also significantly affected relations between China and Japan.