On the surface, it appears that China, Taiwan, and the United States share the same objective of preserving the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. The problem is that all three have different definitions of the status quo. Beijing insists that Taiwan is part of China. The legitimacy of its regime is intertwined with preventing Taiwan from gaining juridical stature as a sovereign country. Taipei views itself as an independent, sovereign nation and is seeking to make that status irreversible, unless the people on the island vote otherwise in a referendum. The U.S. has a “one China” policy and insists that differences between the two sides of the Strait be worked out peacefully, lest the U.S. be compelled to become involved militarily under obligations stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act.
PacNet #21 – Washington’s Hands-On Approach to Managing Cross-Strait Tension
May 13, 2004