Breaking the China-Taiwan Impasse

By Donald S. Zagoria; Chris Fugarino | Go to book overview

Introduction

Donald S. Zagoria

Since 1997, the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) has been sponsoring regular roundtables with American, Chinese, and Taiwan participants to analyze the state of play in the complex and dangerous United States-China-Taiwan relationship. It has been our intention to try to clarify the position of each side for the other two sides, to increase mutual understanding, and, we hope, to promote a peaceful resolution of the issue.

The chapters included in this book were, with the exception of the one by Wilson Tien, all originally presented as essays to one of the roundtables.

The first two chapters examine U.S. policy on the cross-strait issue. Robert A. Scalapino argues that the central problem lies in the fact that no mutually acceptable formula for a long-term or interim political relationship between China and Taiwan has yet been found. The People's Republic of China (PRC) insists that Taiwan must accept the one country, two systems formula, with the proviso that the system for Taiwan can allow greater self-governance than that applicable to Hong Kong or Macao. Taiwan authorities, however, have rejected that formula under any condition, and in this position, they have the support of a strong majority of the Taiwan citizens who support maintaining the status quo, broadly defined. Scalapino says that the risk of conflict, at least in the short run, is slight, but the more distant future is more dangerous. In discussing U.S. policy options, he concludes that the United States should continue its present policy of refusing to support or recognize any de jure declaration of independence by Taiwan while asserting that any use of force by China would be regarded with the utmost gravity. Also, the United States should continue to express its view that any resolution of the impasse must have the support of the Taiwan people, a thesis that is strongly in accord with American principles and not likely to be altered.

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