Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

No Need to Beg China? Taiwan's Membership of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation as a Contested State*

  • Ming-chin Monique Chu (a1)

This article examines the process, causes and repercussions of the accession of Taiwan, as a contested state, together with China, to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in 1991, the first intergovernmental organization that Taipei has joined since 1971. Based on an analysis of elite interviews, primary and secondary data, the paper traces the under-explored diplomatic history of the accession. It argues that changes in Taiwan's domestic and external environments, as well as changes in the diplomatic process, account for Taipei's admission, rather than the China factor alone. The paper examines four positive effects of accession on Taiwan's international space and the implications for Taiwan's continuous survival as a contested state. By undertaking a nuanced analysis of an important yet little explored milestone in the contested state's struggle to mitigate its international isolation, the article sheds light on Taiwan's external ties against the backdrop of the sovereignty dispute between Taipei and Beijing.


本文探讨台湾身为一个受争议国家, 在 1991 年与中国大陆同时加入亚太经济合作会议的过程, 成因及影响。亚太经济合作会议是台北自 1971 年以来加入的第一个政府间国际组织。本文藉由分析精英访谈, 第一手以及第二手资料, 追溯此段未被充分探索的外交史。本文主张, 台北之所以能够成为该组织的会员, 主要是因为台湾内外环境的变化及外交折冲过程中的变因, 而非唯独凭藉中国因素。文章进而分析该会籍对于开拓台湾国际空间的四大正面效益, 以及对于台湾身为受争议国家的生存之道的启示。本文细緻入微地解析此一受争议国家在降低国际孤立的历程裡, 一个重要却受忽视的里程碑, 有助读者了解在台北与北京的主权争议下, 该国的对外关係。

Hide All

I owe special thanks to the Centre for International Studies, University of Cambridge, as well as the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (RG-005-U-13), for generous research travel support. I very much appreciate the useful comments on earlier drafts of the paper by Yu-shan Wu, Andrew Scobell, Scott L. Kastner, Dennis V. Hickey, Gerald Chan, as well as three anonymous reviewers.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Byung-Joon Ahn . 1991. “South Korean–Soviet Relations.” Asian Survey 31(9), 816825.

Eiki Berg , and Raul Toomla . 2009. “Forms of normalisation in the quest for de facto statehood.” The International Spectator 44(4), 2746.

Gerald Chan . 1985. “The ‘two-Chinas’ problem and the Olympic formula.” Pacific Affairs 58(3), 473490.

Jaw-Ling Joanne Chang . 2010. “Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization: the US ‘facilitator’ role.” American Foreign Policy Interests: The Journal of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy 32(3), 131146.

Hui-Wan Cho . 2005. “China–Taiwan tug of war in the WTO.” Asian Survey 45(5), 736755.

Yong Deng . 1997. Promoting Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation: Perspectives from East Asia. London: Macmillan.

Deon Geldenhuys . 2009. Contested States in World Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Penelope Hartland-Thunberg . 1990. China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the World Trading System. London: Macmillan.

James Ker-Lindsay . 2012. The Foreign Policy of Counter Secession: Preventing the Recognition of Contested States. New York: Oxford University Press.

Samuel S. Kim 1995. “China's Pacific policy: reconciling the irreconcilable.” International Journal 50(3), 461487.

Susan L. Shirk 1996. “Internationalization and China's economic reforms.” In Robert O. Keohane and Helen. M. Milner (eds.), Internationalization and Domestic Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 186206.

T.Y. Wang , Wei-Chin Lee and Ching-Hsin Yu . 2011. “Taiwan's expansion of international space: opportunities and challenges.” Journal of Contemporary China 20(69), 249267.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 112 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 306 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 16th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.