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94 Am. J. Int'l L. 453 (2000)
Resolving Cross-Strait Relations between China and Taiwan

handle is hein.journals/ajil94 and id is 467 raw text is: RESOLVING CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS
BETWEEN CHINA AND TAIWAN
By Jonathan I. Charney andJ R. V Prescott*
Much has been written about the legal relationship between China and Taiwan. The dis-
cussion often focuses on whether the People's Republic of China (PRC) or the Republic
of China (ROC) is the government of China or what entity has territorial sovereignty over
Taiwan.1 It is hard to find definitive answers to these questions. This article seeks to re-
examine aspects of the issues in the light of the relevant historical facts and contemporary
international law. Although no conclusive answers are possible, this study attempts to open
new perspectives that could facilitate the development of a solution acceptable to all
interested parties.
I. HISTORY OF CHINESE SOVEREIGNTY OVER TAiWAN
The history of China's relations with Taiwan has been well explored, but the legal and
political issues cannot be put into context without a brief account of the salient facts.2
Beginning in 1386, the Pescadore Islands, which lie twenty-five nautical miles off the west
coast of Taiwan, were considered part of China. Taiwan, however, was not included in the
Chinese Empire.5John Robert Shepherd has explored the anomaly that Taiwan, which is
comparatively large and close to the Chinese mainland, was rarely mentioned in contem-
porary Chinese archives that referred to trade with Southeast AsiaJapan, and the Ryukyu
Islands.4 He concludes that the island did not attract traders because it lacked valuable
exports and a domestic market for imports.' In addition, some of the island's populace
were headhunters.6
Co-Editor in Chief; and Honorary Professor, Departmentof Geography, University of Melbourne; respectively.
Research assistance to Professor Charneywas provided by Hewson Chen,J.D. Vanderbilt, 2001. An earlierversion
of this article was prepared for a meeting entitled Rethinking the Cross-Strait Relationship (Feb. 10-13, 2000),
sponsored by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the United States Institute
of Peace.
For the purposes of this article, the term Taiwan refers to the island of Formosa and its associated islands.
5See generally Hans Kuijper, Is Taiwan a Part of China? in THE INTERNATIONAL STATUS OF TAIWAN IN THE NEW
WORLD ORDER 9 (Jean-Marie Henckaerts ed., 1996) [hereinafter INTERNATIONAL STATUS OF TAIvAN]; JOHN
ROBERT SHEPHERD, STATEcRAFTAND POLITICALECONOMYONTHETAIWAN FRONTIER, 1600-1800 (1993); WILLIAM
CAMPBELL, FORMOSA UNDER THE DUTCH (Southern Materials Center 1987) (1903); JOHN KING FAIRBANK, THE
GREAT CHINESEREvOLUTION, 1800-1985 (1986); COLIN MACKERRAS, MODERN CHINA:A CHRONOLOGYFRoM 1842
TOTHEPRESENT (1982); FREDERICWAKEMAN,JR., THEFALL OFIMPERIAL CHINA (1975); LLOYDE. EASTMAN, THRONE
AND MANDARINS: CHINA'SSEARCH FORAPOLCYDURINGTHE SINO-FRENCH CONTROVERSY, 1880-1885 (1967); W. G.
GODDARD, FORMOSA: ASTUDYIN CHINESE HISTORY (1966); GEORGE H. KERR, FORMOSA BETRAYED (1965); SOPHIA
SU-FEIYEN, TAIWAN IN CHINA'S FOREIGN RELATIONS, 1836-1874 (1965); Ling Shun-sheng, People oftheAncientMin-
Yueh and the Native Tribes of Taiwan, in 1 COLLECTED ESSAYS ONTHE CULTURE OFTAIWAN 1 (Lin Hsiung-hsiang ed.,
1954) ;JOSEPH W. BALLANTINE, FORMOSA: A PROBLEM FOR UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY (1952); Ludwig Reiss,
Geschichte derlnselFormosa [History of the Island of Formosa], 6 MrlTEILUNGENDERDEuTSCHEN GESELLSCHAFrFOR
NATUR- UND V6LKERKUNDE OSTASIENs 405 (1897).
3 SeeYEN, supra note 2, at 4; SHEPHERD, supra note 2, at 6-7.
4 SHEPHERD, supra note 2, at 6-7.
5Id.
6 See id.

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