U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues [December 11, 2014]   [open pdf - 601KB]

"This CRS Report, updated through the 113th Congress, provides an overview with analysis of the major issues in U.S. policy on Taiwan. Taiwan formally calls itself the 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 non-diplomatic 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. […] 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). While the United States does not diplomatically recognize Taiwan, it is an important autonomous actor. […] Another approach has viewed closer cross-strait engagement as allowing U.S. attention to shift to expand cooperation with a rising China, which opposes U.S. arms sales to and other dealings with Taiwan. In any case, Washington and Taipei have put more efforts into their respective relations with Beijing, while contending that they have pursued positive, parallel U.S.-Taiwan cooperation."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41952
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