NATIONS SELF-DETERMINATION CLAUSE (June 26, 1945)
1(2) of the Charter of the United Nations states: The purposes
of the United Nations are: "To develop friendly relations
among nations based on respect for the principle of equal
rights and self-determination of peoples….."
Importance: This article of the UN Charter provides
the people of Taiwan with the legal basis for their right
of self-determination. Their quest for self-determination
is guaranteed by international treaties such as the UN Charter.
FRANCISCO PEACE TREATY (September 8, 1951)
Francisco Peace Treaty was signed by 49 Allied Powers (including
the US) and Japan on September 8, 1951. Article 2(b) of the
treaty states that "Japan renounces all right, title and claim
to [Taiwan]." The recipient of sovereignty over Taiwan was
not mentioned, though. Neither the Communists in Beijing,
nor the Nationalists in Taipei received control over Taiwan.
Importance: Why did the treaty fail to mention the
Because at the time, the UK recognized the Communists in Beijing,
while the US still recognized the Kuomintang in Taipei. The
Allies did not want to offend Beijing or Taipei, and it was
decided that the recipient of sovereignty should not be specified
for the moment.
the PRC was established, it has not for a single day exercised
any control over Taiwan. The people of Taiwan are the only
ones who have the right to claim sovereignty over Taiwan.
Importance: The San Francisco Peace Treaty provides
the people of Taiwan with the legal basis for their right
Shanghai Communiqué (February 28, 1972)
the Cold War produced a rapprochement in Sino-American relations
to counter the threat the USSR posed. In the Shanghai Communiqué,
the US initiated a "One China Policy" despite the fact that
Taiwan had never been part of China. The US declared: "The
US acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan
Strait maintain that there is but one China and that Taiwan
is a part of China." Thus, the US abandoned Taiwan and its
people to clear the path for establishing diplomatic relations
with the PRICE. This resulted in Taiwan's complete diplomatic
and political isolation.
disregarded longstanding US policy towards Taiwan. Just 10
months prior to the signing of the document, the State Department's
had reiterated the US position that the international status
of Taiwan remains open: "In our view, sovereignty over Taiwan
and the Pescadores is an unsettled question subject to future
of the USSR has removed the Soviet threat and rendered the
old US strategy of the US playing the "China Card" obsolete.
Importance: The Communiqué is merely a framework
for Sino-American relations. It is a memo of mutual understanding
and holds no legal binding power. Now that the Cold War is
over and the USSR has ceased to exist, the US does not have
to succumb to China anymore. A revision of the 1972 Communiqué
should be called for to grant Taiwan the international status
and recognition it deserves. The Taiwanese people should not
have to suffer from isolation and abandonment any longer.
Shanghai Communiqué (Also US-CHINA
DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS TREATY (January 1, 1979)
1, 1979, the US and the PRC agreed to recognize each other
and established diplomatic relations. Within this context,
the US vowed to maintain "cultural, commercial and other unofficial
relations" with the people of Taiwan. The US and the PRC reaffirmed:
"The US acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but
one China and Taiwan is part of China."
Carter pledged: "We will continue to have an interest in the
peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue. I have paid special
attention to ensuring that normalization of relations between
our country and the PRC will not jeopardize the well being
of the people of Taiwan."
Importance: Through this treaty, the US vows to continue
to seek a peaceful resolution of Taiwan's status. The treaty
guarantees that -despite the fact that the US established
diplomatic relations with the PRC- the people of Taiwan are
RELATIONS ACT (April 10, 1979)
Relations Act (TRA) was initiated by Congress and signed into
law by President Carter. US-Taiwan diplomatic relations had
been terminated three months earlier. The US Congress found
it necessary to enact the TRA.
created the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) - a private
corporation to handle "unofficial relations" between Taiwan
and the US.
clauses in the TRA are: It is the policy of the US 1) to declare
that peace and stability in the area are in the political,
security and economic interests of the United States, and
are matters of international concern; 2) to make clear that
the United States decision to establish diplomatic relations
with the PRC rests upon the expectation that the future of
Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means;
3) to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan
by other than peaceful means ... a threat to the peace
and security of the western Pacific area and of grave concern
to the US; 4) to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive
see the TRA as aimed at "preventing China's reunification"
and have demanded its revocation.
Importance: The US vows that the US decision to establish
diplomatic relations with the PRC rests upon the expectation
that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.
The TRA played an important role in March 1996, when the US
sent aircraft carriers to the Taiwan Strait in the midst of
Chinese war games aimed at Taiwan.
Shanghai Communiqué (August 17, 1982)
Second Shanghai Communiqué, the provisions of the (first)
Shanghai Communiqué were reiterated. It declared that
the US recognizes the Government of the PRC as the sole legitimate
government of China, and it acknowledged the Chinese position
that there is but one China and that Taiwan is part of China.
During the conclusion of the Communiqué, the Chinese
government restated that the Taiwan question is China's internal
affair. The US stated that "it has no intention of pursuing
a policy of "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan."
of US arms sales to Taiwan was not settled when US-PRC diplomatic
relations were established. In this Communiqué, the
US stated that "it intends to reduce gradually its sale of
arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resolution."
Importance: By means of this Communiqué, the
US expresses its support for a peaceful solution of Taiwan’s
Reagan's Six Assurances
President Reagan was going to sign the second communiqué with
China in 1982, he sent then Assistant Secretary of State, John
Holdridge to deliver six points (later so called "Six
Assurances) to then President of Taiwan, Chiang Chin-ko.
The assurances are deemed by some that it contradicts the 1982
Communiqué. Nevertheless, the six assurances are to
assure the Taiwanese government with U.S. commitment to
Taiwan's sovereignty and the rights to purchase advanced arms
from the U.S. Over the years, many scholars argue that
the importance of the "Six Assurances" is
underestimated and should be part of the official U.S. policy
toward Taiwan and China, in addition to Taiwan Relations Act
and three Communiqué.
Taiwan Policy Review
1994 Clinton administration undertook a review on U.S. policy
the 1994 review, U.S. pledges to "actively support
Taiwan's membership in international organizations accepting
non-states as members, and look for ways have Taiwan's voice
heard in organizations of states where Taiwan's membership is
not possible". It later becomes a basis for
U.S. Congress to support Taiwan's WHO bid.