China/Taiwan: Evolution of the 'One China' Policy - Key Statements from Washington, Beijing, and Taipei [Updated July 9, 2007]   [open pdf - 410KB]

"Despite apparently consistent statements in over three decades, the 'one China' policy concerning Taiwan remains somewhat ambiguous and subject to different interpretations. Apart from questions about what the 'one China' policy entails, issues have arisen about whether U.S. presidents have stated clear positions and have changed or should change policy, affecting U.S. interests in stability and democracy. In Part I, this CRS Report discusses the 'one China' policy since the United States began in 1971 to reach presidential understandings with the PRC government. Part II documents the evolution of policy as affected by legislation and articulated in key statements by Washington, Beijing, and Taipei. This report will be updated. Policy on the 'one China' concept covers three major issue areas: sovereignty over Taiwan; PRC use of force or coercion against Taiwan; and cross-strait dialogue. The United States recognized the Republic of China (ROC) government in Taipei until the end of 1978 and has maintained a relationship with Taiwan since recognition of the People's Republic of China (PRC) government in Beijing in 1979. The United States did not explicitly state the sovereign status of Taiwan in the three U.S.-PRC Joint Communiques of 1972, 1979, and 1982. The United States 'acknowledged' the 'one China' position of both sides of the Taiwan Strait. U.S. policy has not recognized the PRC's sovereignty over Taiwan; has not recognized Taiwan as a sovereign country; and has considered Taiwan's status as undetermined."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30341
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