Policy & Perspectives

This includes official documents and policy statements from the United States, China, Taiwan other governments concerning the cross-Strait issue.

U.S., China and Taiwan

"China/Taiwan: Evolution of the 'One China' Policy – Key Statements from Washington, Beijing, and Taipei" was authored by Shirley A. Kan of the Congressional Research Service and was last updated June 1, 2004. The document is an overview of U.S. policy on the "One China" question and its evolution since 1971, and it contains statements made by both sides during various administrations. The author explains that U.S. policy on "one China" has evolved to cover three major issues: sovereignty, use of force, and cross-Strait dialogue.
 

Other International Perspectives

Japan | Korea | Russia | France | Regional Organizations

The cross-Strait issue is closely related to the greater political and strategic situation in East Asia. Taiwan sits astride strategic sea-lanes and air links between Northeast and Southeast Asia, on which Japan and South Korea depend for vital energy imports. Instability in and around the Taiwan Strait would have major ramifications for nations and economies throughout East Asia. Countries in East Asia also interpret U.S. support for Taiwan as an indication of American commitment to the region. Reactions toward developments in cross-Strait relations may alter the current political and strategic order in East Asia. Russia, whose influence in East Asia diminished after the Cold War, nonetheless remains a major source of arms and military technology for China. In addition, some of the regional organizations associated with the region also have indicated a position on the issue, especially given Taiwan's unique relationship to these organizations.

Japan

The Joint Communiqué of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China was issued on September 29, 1972 by Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka of Japan and Chairman Mao Tse-tung. In this communiqué, the Government of Japan recognized the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China and the Government of the People's Republic of China reiterated that Taiwan was an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China: "The Government of Japan fully understands and respects this stand of the Government of the People's Republic of China, and it firmly maintains its stand under Article 8 of the Postsdam Proclamation." This communiqué normalized relations between Japan and China.

Japan and China signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship on August 12, 1978. This document alludes to the previous communique, further reinforcing the development of positive relations between the two countries, and states its hope that the bilateral relationship will "contribute to peace and stability in Asia and in the world." The treaty also says that neither country will seek hegemony in Asia and all conflicts between the two will be resolved peacefully.

On November 26, 1998, the Japan-China Joint Declaration on building a partnership of friendship and cooperation for peace and development was put into effect. This declaration was put forth as a result of the visit of President Jiang Zemin to Japan, the first visit to Japan by a president of the People's Republic of China. Jiang and Emperor Akihito managed to agree on many major issues put forth in this declaration, ranging from the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons and a reaffirmation on the part of both parties to continue jointly promoting peace and stability throughout Asia through participation in organization such as the ASEAN Regional Forum. In this document, Japan also reiterated its "one China" policy although it stated that "Japan will continue to maintain its exchanges of private and regional nature with Taiwan."

Japanese foreign minister Yohei Kono commented on the result of the "Presidential" election in Taiwan that took place on March 18, 2000. The foreign minister stated that, "Japan expects that under such new circumstances, the issue relating to Taiwan will be settled peacefully through direct dialogue between the parties on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and that this dialogue will be promptly resumed." He also reiterated that Japan will maintain its non-governmental exchanges with Taiwan in a way that does not harm relations with China.

In November 2002, members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and Taiwan's military met in Taipei to further develop relations between the two countries. The goal of this meeting was to send a signal to the PRC that it should not feel emboldened to take action in the Taiwan Strait. This thinking formed the premise for the first Tokyo-Taipei International Conference on Asia-Pacific security and strategic studies. Tomohiro Okamoto, Former Director General of the Joint Staff Office of the SDF, wrote a document entitled "An examination of matters related to the occurrence of a military Conflict in the Taiwan Strait" summarizing the highlights of this exchange.

On October 12, 2004 the Japanese government released a Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Address on October 10 by President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan. This statement says, "It is our earnest hope that cross-Strait consultations can begin as soon as possible, so as to seek further progress in the Three Links policy. The Government of Japan looks forward to the concrete implementation of these ideas." The Three Links Policy involves the facilitation of communication focusing on chartered flights, shipping and cargo, and mail delivery between China and Taiwan.

Following a meeting of the foreign ministers of both the United States and Japan, a joint statement of U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee was released on February 20, 2005. In this statement, both sides reiterated their desire to encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues through dialogue.

In response to the PRC Anti-Secession Law, the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement on March 14, 2005 expressing the Japanese government's concern that the law would undermine recent positive developments in cross-Strait relations, such as the Lunar New Year flights. The statement also reiterated Japanese support for a peaceful resolution of the cross-Strait issue acceptable to both sides, noting Hu Jintao's March 4 comment that "China will never abandon its efforts to achieve peaceful reunification."

Korea

In his statement on March 8, 2005, President Roh Moo-hyun alluded to South Korea's role in the cross-Strait dispute. He stated, "I can clearly say that our people will not get entangled in regional disputes against our will in the future. We will go ahead with this as a firm principle."

Russia

On December 2, 2002, Russia and the People's Republic of China issued a Joint Declaration expressing both sides' desire to deepen their strategic bilateral relationship. In addition, it states that, "The Russian side reiterates that the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an integral part of China's territory. Russia will not establish any official relations or have any official contacts with Taiwan."

In a subsequent declaration by the Russian government and the PRC on May 27, 2003, Russia reiterated that, "The Russian side confirms the unchangeability of its position of principle with regard to Taiwan and Tibet."

In response to the Anti-Secession Law, Russia released a statement by Alexander Yakovenko, the Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Concerning the Adoption of an Anti-Secession Law by the Chinese Parliament stating that the Russian government considers the "Taiwan question" to be an internal Chinese matter. In addition, the spokesman stated that, "It is very important that the law confirms the main assumption of the PRC government - the absolute priority of peaceful unification methods within the framework of the 'one country, two systems' policy."

France

A French journalist by the name of Patrice DeBeer analyzes France's position on the dispute between PRC and Taiwan. French President Jacques Chirac has recently reiterated France's commitment to supporting the PRC on Cross-strait issue. Although economically this is a sound decision, it still remains to be seen if distancing from Taiwan will harm France in the long-run, according to deBeer.

Regional Organizations

In a declaration establishing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on June 7, 2002, members countries stated that, "The SCO member states proceed from the assumption that the Government of the PRC is the sole lawful government representing all of China, and that Taiwan is an integral part of the territory of China."

International Security Program