Since the end of the Cold War, some students of international politics have believed that “history has ended,” while others have stated that the more things change, the more they stay the same. These two schools of thought-roughly, liberalism and realism-are the two main conceptual frameworks by which East Asian security is analyzed. This paper first examines East Asian security from these two perspectives. It then analyzes the security stances of the PRC and the United States, the two major powers in East Asia, arguing that the PRC’s reading of East Asian international politics is leaning toward a realist interpretation, while the United States is leaning toward a somewhat liberal one. Since Taiwan is a hot point in Sino-American relations, this paper further probes Taiwan’s role in East Asian security. It finds that Taiwan’s drive for international recognition, while largely propelled by its internal democratization process, will continue to drive a wedge into Sino-American relations, which will have tremendous repercussions in the East Asian security situation.