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One China policy

The one China policy is the principle that the geographical region of China, which was split by the Chinese Civil War, be eventually reunited under a single government.

Its acknowledgement is also a requirement by the People's Republic of China government for reunification talks with the Republic of China government on Taiwan. The one China policy rejects formulas which call for "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan". The PRC has however hinted that it would be flexible about the meaning of one China, and that one China may not necessarily be synonymous with the PRC. However, the one China policy would apparently require that Taiwan formally give up any possibility of Taiwan independence, and would preclude any formula similar to ones used in German ostpolitik or in Korean reunification.

One China was the formulation accepted by the ROC government before the 1990s, but it was asserted that the one China was the Republic of China. However, in 1991, President Lee Teng-hui indicated that he would not challenge the right of the Communist authorities to rule the Mainland, and sufficient common ground was found to begin semi-official negotiations in Singapore in 1992. However, over the course of the 1990s, President Lee appeared to drift away from the one China formulation, leading many to believe that he was actually sympathetic to Taiwan independence. In 1999, Lee proposed a two states theory[?] for mainland China-Taiwan relations which was received angrily by Beijing, who ended semi-official dialogue.

After the election of Chen Shui-Bian in 2000, the policy of the government in Taiwan was to propose negotiations without preconditions. While Chen did not explicitly reject Lee's two states theory, he has not explicitly endorsed it either. Throughout 2001, there were unsuccessful attempts to find an acceptable formula for both sides, such as agreeing to "abide by the 1992 consensus." This has proven unsuccessful, and many commentators believe that the strategy of the PRC is to wait until the 2004 elections in the hopes that Chen will be defeated by a candidate more sympathetic to Chinese reunification. In response, President Chen, after assuming the Democratic Progressive Party Chairmanship in July 2002, appears to be rhetorically moving to a somewhat less ambiguous policy, and stated in early August 2002 that "it is clear that both sides of the straits are separate countries." This statement was strongly criticized by opposition pan-blue coalition parties on Taiwan, which support the one-China policy, but oppose defining this "one-China" as the PRC.

In the field of diplomatic relations with other countries, the PRC refuses to have diplomatic relations with countries who maintain diplomatic relations with the Republic of China, and requires that all countries with diplomatic relations with Beijing agree to a one China policy, with the PRC as the sole China. In many cases, this has resulted in very careful language. For example, in the case of the United States, the one China policy is stated in the Shanghai Communique[?] which states that "the United States acknowledges that Chinese on either side of the Taiwan straits maintain that there is but one China. The United States does not challenge that position." Since 1972, the United States has consistently supported a one China policy, although it has sometimes been unclear what was meant.

See also: Political status of Taiwan



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