At the invitation of Brookings Institution, Dr. Sungmin Cho contributed an essay for its Taiwan-U.S. Quarterly Analysis series.

In this essay, Dr. Cho explains, “The Taiwan issue is often viewed by leaders of the United States and its allies as a contest between democracy and authoritarianism. From a South Korean perspective, however, the Taiwan issue also represents a clash between nationalism and liberalism.” Dr. Cho argues, “While nationalism emphasizes the importance of the group over the individual, liberalism privileges the individual. From a nationalist perspective, individuals are expected to align their preferences with the goals of the nation. However, young South Koreans and Taiwanese view their individual rights as inalienable, which cannot be violated by state coercion.”

This essay examines North Korea and China’s unification policies and compares the survey data on unification in South Korea and Taiwan.

Dr. Sungmin Cho is a Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies professor. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not reflect those of DKI APCSS, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.