Taiwan Relations Act

From Academic Kids

The Taiwan Relations Act is an act of the United States Congress passed in 1979 after the establishment of relations with the People's Republic of China and the (pro forma) breaking of relations between the United States and the Republic of China on Taiwan by President Jimmy Carter.

The act authorizes quasi-diplomatic relations with the ROC government by establishing the American Institute in Taiwan and upholds all international obligations previously made between the ROC and U.S. prior to 1979 (with the exeception of the US-ROC Mutual Defence Treaty, which was quietly allowed to expire in 1980).

The act defines the term "Taiwan" includes, as the context may require, the islands of Taiwan and the Pescadores. Thus, the act does not apply to Quemoy or the Matsu Islands.

The act stipulates that the United States will "consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States."

This act also requires the United States "to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character", and "to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan." However, it does not necessarily require the United States to take any military action against the PRC in the event of an attack. The Taiwan Relations Act has been used by successive U.S. administrations to justify arms sales to the ROC, despite adopting a One-China Policy, which is not exactly the same as the PRC's.

The PRC does not recognize the legitimacy of the Taiwan Relations Act as it is viewed by them as "an unwarranted intrusion by the United States into the internal affairs of China." Nonetheless, the United States, despite having "acknowledged" the PRC's position regarding Taiwan, declared that "the United States would not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan" as part of the Six Assurances offered to Taipei in 1982.

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