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The Looming Taiwan Crisis

13 17 1
15.02.2019

NEW YORK – Much of lasting significance happened in 1979. There was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and Iran’s Islamic Revolution, which brought to power a regime set on remaking not just Iranian society but also much of the Middle East.

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Just as important was the United States’ decision to recognize, effective January 1 that year, the government of the People’s Republic of China – then, as today, run by the Communist Party – as China’s sole legal government. The change paved the way for expansion of trade and investment between the world’s largest economy and the world’s most populous country, and enabled closer collaboration against the Soviet Union.

Diplomacy was based on an intricate choreography. In three communiqués (in 1972, 1978, and 1982), the US acknowledged “the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.” It agreed to downgrade its ties with Taiwan and maintain only unofficial relations with the island.

America’s commitments to Taiwan were articulated in legislation (the Taiwan Relations Act) signed in 1979. The US stated that it would........

© Project Syndicate