1 (February 23, 2006)

handle is hein.crs/crsajep0001 and id is 1 raw text is: Order Code RS22388
February 23, 2006
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Taiwan's Political Status: Historical
Background and Ongoing Implications
Kerry Dumbaugh
Specialist in Asian Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
In 1979, official U.S. relations with Taiwan (the Republic of China) became a
casualty of the American decision to recognize the communist government of the
People's Republic of China (PRC) as China's sole legitimate government. Since then,
U.S. unofficial relations with Taiwan have been built on the framework of the Taiwan
Relations Act (P.L. 96-8) and shaped by three U.S.-China communiques. Under these
agreements, the United States maintains its official relations with the PRC while selling
Taiwan military weapons and having extensive economic, political, and security
interests there. But continuing transformations in both the PRC and Taiwan political
systems mean U.S. officials are facing new and more difficult policy choices. This
report, intended as a background overview, briefly summarizes U.S. political history
with Taiwan and discusses the complications it has for current U.S. policy and for
congressional actions. For analysis of current developments in Taiwan and their
implications for U.S. policy, see CRS Issue Brief 1B98034, Taiwan: Recent
Developments and U.S. Policy Choices, by Kerry B. Dumbaugh.
From the Mainland to Taiwan
With the victory of Mao Tse-tung and his Communist Party military forces on
mainland China in 1949, the remnants of the government of America's former World War
II ally, the Republic of China (ROC) led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, fled to the
island of Taiwan off the south China coast. For the next thirty years, both regimes
claimed legitimacy as the sole legal government of the Chinese people. While on October
1, 1949, in Beijing a victorious Mao proclaimed the creation of the People's Republic of
China (PRC), Chiang Kai-shek re-established a temporary capital for his government in
Taipei, Taiwan, declaring the ROC still to be the legitimate Chinese government-in-exile
and vowing that he would retake the mainland and drive out communist forces.

Congressional Research Service + The Library of Congress

1 It is crucial to note that at this time and for most of the next 53 years, both the PRC and the
ROC claimed Taiwan as a province of China. Taiwan's provincial capital remained at Taichung.

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