East Asia was thrown into a major political crisis in March 1996, when China conducted a program of ballistic missile “tests” close to Taiwan’s major ports.1 In fact, the missile launches were not strictly tests at all. Rather, they represented a military campaign to force Taiwan to bend to China’s will. Although no blood was spilled, the crisis could have spiraled out of control and ignited a wider, deadlier conflict. At the time, many news reporters and officials claimed that China’s campaign of military coercion equated to some new form of “missile” blockade of the island. Thus, the missile launches were variously described in the media and by Western experts as a “de facto,” “partial,” “temporary,” or “cold” blockade.2