A war across the Taiwan Strait is neither inevitable nor imminent, and is less likely in the future since China believes that it has time on its side. This Chinese confidence is enhanced by Taiwan’s current political and economic deterioration. For China, the decision not to use force is based on assessments and strategies discussed in this article, as well as on its unswerving commitment to economic modernization at home and its determination not to fall into what it suspects, rightly or wrongly, as being an international conspiracy to see China and Taiwan exhaust each other through war. China’s military modernization, therefore, is aimed less at occupying Taiwan than at deterring its creeping independence and enhancing China’s own future international status. The only thing that might disrupt this process would be a wave of political and economic chaos. Such a crisis, however, is not currently within sight.
Sheng, Lijun (2002) Peace over the Taiwan Strait?, Security Dialogue 33 (1).