Asia-Pacific, China, Power & Security New Taiwan fact sheet clarifies ties

May 13, 2022
By Thomas J. Shattuck | Taipei Times

On Thursday last week, the US Department of State updated its online “US-Taiwan Relationship” fact sheet. Given the amount of substantive and symbolic developments in this bilateral relationship over the past few years, it was long overdue. While the new language does not reflect an official change in US policy, it demonstrates how far Washington has come in publicly expressing support for Taiwan and challenging Beijing’s preferred narrative. The update follows a string of statements and actions from US President Joe Biden’s administration hitting on those two issues.

The most notable change is the removal of the sentence “The United States does not support Taiwan independence.” The tweaks reflect a more positive spin on that issue, stating now: “The United States has a longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three US-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. Though the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, we have a robust unofficial relationship as well as an abiding interest in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” The US stance on Taiwan’s independence has not changed since it is imbedded within the US’ “one China” policy, but removing that sentence is significant.

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