Breaking the China-Taiwan Impasse

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

CHAPTER 16

Bush Administration's Taiwan Policy: Evolution and Trends

Jiemian Yang

In the past year, the Taiwan policy of the Bush administration has not fundamentally deviated from the one in the past three decades, but showed some interesting changes. It went from a cycle of noticeably tilting toward Taiwan at the beginning of the year, and then swinging toward the middle ground in the middle of the year, and finally adjusting to a nonconfrontational position with China over the Taiwan issue. The events of September 11, 2001, have made the United States deal with Sino-U.S. relations and the Taiwan issue based on a global strategic view. By the end of the year, the United States and China seemed to understand that it is in their best interests not to let the Taiwan issue get out of control.


INITIAL POLICY AND POLICY CONSIDERATIONS

During the presidential campaign in the year 2000 and its initial days in early 2001, the Bush administration emphasized the following three aspects in its policy toward Taiwan. First of all, the Bush administration tried hard to differentiate itself from its predecessor, the Clinton administration. The Bush administration criticized the Clinton administration for its engagement policy toward China by stressing that it was naive to believe that China can be changed through engagement. The United States should adopt a firmer and tougher policy toward China to prevent the latter from becoming a real threat or challenge to the United States. Secondly, the Bush administration was very ambiguous on the one-China principle, especially on the Taiwan independence issue. The Bush administration criticized the Clinton administration's

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