By: Joseph Bosco, Opinion Contributor
This past week marked the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act(TRA), the indignant congressional response to President Jimmy Carter’s switch of diplomatic relations from the Republic of China on Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Carter simply put into place the scenario envisioned by President Richard Nixon when he opened informal relations with the PRC. That commenced the executive branch’s initial abandonment of Taiwan in the vain hope that Beijing would help the United States manage a graceful exit from the Vietnam War.
Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, negotiated with Premier Chou En-lai to produce the Shanghai Communique — the original sin of U.S.-PRC relations. In what Nixon considered a masterpiece of ambiguity, it “acknowledged” the fact that China claimed Taiwan and said “all Chinese” on both sides of the Taiwan Strait (meaning the communist and anti-communist dictatorships) agreed. It did not state Washington’s position on Taiwan’s sovereignty as long as it was resolved peacefully.
But, while stating America’s precondition for a nonviolent resolution of Taiwan’s status, the communique implicitly acknowledged that China reserved the right to take Taiwan by force if it didn’t go “peacefully.” [FULL STORY]