U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues [April 1, 2014]   [open pdf - 564KB]

"The purpose and scope of this CRS [Congressional Research Service] report is to provide a succinct overview with analysis of the major issues in the U.S. policy on Taiwan. This report will be updated as warranted. Taiwan formally calls itself the sovereign Republic of China (ROC), tracing its political lineage to the ROC set up after the revolution in 1911 in China. The ROC government retreated to Taipei in 1949. The United States recognized the ROC until the end of 1978 and has maintained a nondiplomatic relationship with Taiwan after recognition of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1979. The State Department claims an 'unofficial' U.S. relationship with Taiwan, despite official contacts that include arms sales. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) of 1979, P.L. 96-8, has governed policy in the absence of a diplomatic relationship or a defense treaty. Other key statements that guide policy are the three U.S.-PRC Joint Communiqués of 1972, 1979, and 1982; as well as the 'Six Assurances' of 1982. (See also CRS Report RL30341, 'China/Taiwan: Evolution of the 'One China' Policy--Key Statements from Washington, Beijing, and Taipei.') For decades, Taiwan has been of significant security, economic, and political interest to the United States. In 2013, Taiwan was the 12th-largest U.S. trading partner. Taiwan is a major innovator and producer of information technology (IT) products, many of which are assembled in the PRC by Taiwan-invested firms there. Ties or tension across the Taiwan Strait affect international security (with potential U.S. intervention)."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41952
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