News | January 16, 2014

Authors Discuss Taiwan Arms Sales Report

EWI’s policy report Threading the Needle: Proposals for U.S. and Chinese Actions on Arms Sales to Taiwan was the topic of a special panel at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. on January 14. The report’s authors Piin-Fen Kok, director of EWI’s China, East Asia and United States program, and David J. Firestein, Perot fellow and vice president for EWI’s Strategic Trust-Building Initiative and Track 2 Diplomacy, presented their findings and recommendations. 

Moderated by Robert M. Hathaway, director of the Wilson Center’s Asia Program, the panel discussion was co-sponsored by the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.  Joining the authors of the report on the panel were Richard C. Bush, director of Brookings’ Center for East Asian Policy Studies, and Zhou Qi, senior fellow and director of American Politics at the Chinese Institute of American Studies (CASS). 

The panel focused on ways to reduce the mistrust that the issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan has historically generated in the U.S.-China relationship. “The current policies are failing from the standpoint of all three of the stakeholders,” David Firestein said. 

Think tank experts, journalists from mainland China, Taiwan and the United States, government officials and representatives of the diplomatic community participated in the subsequent lively discussion. Questions touched on a range of topics, from the reception the report received in Washington, Beijing and Taipei to the annual cap on arms sales proposed in the report. 

Bush and Hathaway hailed the report in their remarks. “This report is a very valuable resource… [it] will be one of those things I put on the shelf of books and reports that I need to get to at a minute’s notice,” Bush said. Hathaway added that this report on a difficult, highly sensitive issue was “unusually balanced, realistic and constructive.” 

Watch the webcast of the event:

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Read the about the Threading the Needle launch event in Washington D.C.