Naval War College Review


Douglas Porch


The Taiwan Strait Crisis of March 1996 demonstrated that tense relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) constitute an Achilles' heel of East Asian stability. When the PRC began to fire missiles into the seas of Taiwan's two major ports, the United States demonstrated its commitment to the peaceful "unification" (or "reunification") of Taiwan with the mainland by dispatching an armada that included two carriers, the USS Independence (CV 62) and the USS Nimitz (CVN 68), in the most significant naval display in the area since the 1950s. Because the crisis faded away and was soon consigned to distant memory, its implications have failed to receive the attention they deserve.