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Foreign relations of Taiwan

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International disputes (The political status of the Republic of China on Taiwan is itself controversial and described in a separate article.)

The 1970s saw a switch in diplomatic recognition from the Republic of China to the People's Republic of China. In October 1971, Resolution 2758 was passed by the UN General Assembly, expelling the Republic of China and replacing the China seat on the Security Council (and all other UN organs) with the People's Republic of China. It declared "that the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations" and thus labeled the Republic of China a renegade authority. Multiple attempts by the Republic of China to rejoin the UN have not made it past committee. Today, all but 27 nations recognize the Republic of China, as the PRC makes breaking ties with the ROC and the recognition of the PRC as the sole legal government of China the prerequisite to diplomatic relations.

Although the current presidential administration leans toward Taiwan independence it has not formally renounced its jurisdiction over Mainland China (including Tibet). The relationship with Mongolia is more complicated. Until 1945, the ROC claimed jurisdiction over Mongolia, but under Soviet pressure, it recognized Mongolian independence. Shortly thereafter, it repudiated this recognition and continued to claim jurisdiction over Mongolia until recently.

Since the late 1990s, relationship with Mongolia has become a controversial topic. The DPP is attempting to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia, but this move is controversial because it is widely seen as a prelude for renouncing ROC sovereignty over Mainland China thereby declaring Taiwan independence.

On less official terms, Taiwan is involved in a complex dispute for control over the Spratly Islands with mainland China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; and over the Paracel Islands, occupied by mainland China, but claimed by Vietnam and ROC. ROC claims the Japanese-administered Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands[?]/Diaoyu Tai), as does mainland China.

Illicit drugs: Taiwan is considered to be an important heroin transit point; major problems exist with domestic consumption of methamphetamines and heroin.

U.S.-Taiwan Relations Relationships between the United States and Taiwan are governed by the Taiwan Relations Act (U.S. Law).

According to the CIA World Factbook,

  The U.S. has welcomed and encouraged the cross-Strait dialogue 
  as a process which contributes to a reduction of tension and to an 
  environment conducive to the eventual peaceful resolution of the 
  outstanding differences between the two sides. The United States 
  believes that differences between Taipei and Beijing should be 
  resolved by the people on both sides of the Strait themselves. The 
  U.S. has consistently stated that its abiding interest is that the 
  process be peaceful. 

This statement is an example of the careful wording that the United States has to undergo in order to avoid possibly disastrous diplomatic gaffes. A clear statement that the United States does not recognize the PRC claim to Taiwan would bring instant diplomatic retaliation from the PRC. A clear statement that the United States does recognize the PRC claim over Taiwan would risk encouraging the PRC to take military action against Taiwan, and would also be politically almost impossible, in view of the sympathy that Taiwan has in the United States. So the United States responds by refusing to be clear on anything.

Fortunately, all of the parties in this issue are not dissatisfied by the current situation, and there is a generally agreement to maintain the "status quo," which includes not being very clear about what the "status quo" really is.

Similar positions on Taiwan are taken by a majority of countries. 27 nations recognize the ROC as the legitimate ruler of China and reject the PRC claims to legitimacy. During the 1990s, Taiwan actively encouraged such recognition through generous grants of foreign aid. In the 2000s, this strategy was abandoned because the PRC could outbid the ROC with foreign aid, and the spending of large sums of money to buy recognition became quite unpopular on Taiwan.

In the 2000s, Taiwan's diplomatic strategy appears to have shifted to encourage "democratic solidarity" with major powers such as the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Diplomatic representation in the US:

Official diplomatic relations are currently nonexistent; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people of the US are maintained through a private instrumentality, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US with headquarters in Taipei and field offices in Washington and 12 other US cities. TECRO is technically a private organization, but its staff consists of career diplomats who have temporarily "retired."

Diplomatic representation from the US:

Official diplomatic relations are currently nonexistent; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through a private corporation, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which has its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia[?] (telephone: [1] (703) 525-8474 and FAX: [1] (703) 841-1385), and offices in Taipei at #7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3, telephone [886] (2) 2709-2000, FAX [886] (2) 2702-7675, and in Kao-hsiung at #2 Chung Cheng 3d Road, telephone [886] (7) 224-0154 through 0157, FAX [886] (7) 223-8237, and the American Trade Center at Room 3207 International Trade Building, Taipei World Trade Center, 333 Keelung Road Section 1, Taipei 10548, telephone [886] (2) 2720-1550, FAX [886] (2) 2757-7162.

Technically, the AIT is a private organization, but its staff consists of career diplomats from the United States State Department who are formally "on leave" to serve in the AIT. Again, this is an example of the type of compromise that the United States has to go through in order to prevent diplomatic problems.

Citizenship Residents of Taiwan and Kinmen and Lienchiang counties of Fujian province, are officially citizens of the Republic of China (ROC).

See also : Taiwan, Republic of China



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