In light of the North Korean nuclear threat, Sino-Japanese territorial disputes and conflicting claims in the South China Sea, Taiwan appears to be the exception in a region of rising tensions. Beijing claims that Taiwan is part of China but has been willing to take a long-term approach in the hope that enhancing cross-Strait ties will bring the island into China peacefully. Taiwanese have shown little interest in provoking the mainland by declaring permanent independence. At the same time, they will not risk their freedom or sovereignty though closer political ties to the mainland. As a result, while the island's ultimate fate remains undetermined, cross-Strait trade, investment and travel are booming.