Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

China's Use of Force, 1950-96, and Taiwan

  • Allen S. Whiting
| Fall 2001


How likely is China to use force to achieve its political aims? Can we predict Chinese actions against Taiwan based on Beijing's past behavior? To shed light on these questions, Allen Whiting of the University of Arizona examines eight Chinese military engagements from 1950 to 1996 that involved the United States, the Soviet Union, or their proxies. In these conflicts, says Whiting, China was able to balance risk taking and risk management to avoid either defeat or escalation by its opponents. Beijing also "gave priority to political goals of deterrence and coercive diplomacy" in pursuing its objectives. Although a variety of contingency factors makes predictions about Chinese behavior toward Taiwan virtually impossible, Whiting does suggest that China's past willingness to use force could cast "a worrisome shadow over the next decade."

For more information on this publication: Please contact International Security
For Academic Citation: Whiting, Allen S.. China's Use of Force, 1950-96, and Taiwan.” Quarterly Journal: International Security, vol. 26. no. 2. (Fall 2001):

The Author