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.