Cambridge Workshop: The Cold War and Post-War Taiwan

This workshop brought together scholars from Taiwan, Japan, and Cambridge, and opened with a keynote speech by Professor Andrew Preston (Professor of American History, University of Cambridge), entitled:  From Dong Dang to Danang: America’s Thirty Years’ War for Asia.

Over the next two days, the topic was approached from different angles by the speakers. The first day saw presentations on a variety of topics related to the US-ROC (Republic of China) security relationship; academic interaction between the two countries; and the ROC’s place in the United Nations, and US support thereof.

The presentations on the morning of the second day took a more inter-Asian approach, and looked at the institutionalisation of Japan-ROC ties; Beijing’s views on PRC/ROC rivalry within Japan; as well as De-Japanization and decolonization in postwar Taiwan. The presentations in the afternoon dealt with a variety of topics, such as the reform of rural Taiwanese society with US guidance; the Taiwanese reaction to Beijing’s Ping Pong Diplomacy and the first steps toward rapprochement between Beijing and Washington; and finally an in-depth look at the Cold War roots of the Diaoyutai/Senkaku islands dispute and the role of Taiwan therein.

The consensus among the participants, brought together here for the first time to evaluate the multifaceted but under-researched topic of Taiwan’s place within Cold War East Asia, was that these two days of spirited discussion should serve as the start of a continued academic exchange and collaboration, in order to bring many of the important questions raised into sharper focus.

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