Curious Events

regarding the international status of Taiwan

For over fifty years, Taiwan's status in the international community has always puzzled researchers. Among the curious events which have occurred are the following:

(1) In 1945, Chiang Kai-shek's ROC military forces were directed to accept the surrender of Japanese troops in Taiwan by General Douglas MacArthur. However, after the surrender date of October 25, many world nations still maintained that "Taiwan has not yet been returned to China." The Chinese had different opinions of course.

(2) Even up to 1950, the ROC was recognized by the world community as "the legal government of China." Yet, it was not even invited to the post-war peace treaty ceremonies. In the peace treaty, Japan renounced the sovereignty of Taiwan without designating any other country as "recipient."

(3) In 1971, the ROC was expelled from the United Nations even though it enjoyed wide diplomatic support at the time.

(4) In 1972, the United States adopted a "One China Policy" which recognized the Peoples Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China. The existence of the ROC on Taiwan was seemingly completely ignored.

(5) In December 1978, President Carter announced the decision to break relations with the ROC on Taiwan. This decision was met with surprise in many quarters.

(6) After the break in diplomatic relations with the ROC on Taiwan, the United States Congress immediately passed a Taiwan Relations Act to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan. The drafting of this legal document is unique in the history of the United States.

(7) Since the early 1970's, US government policy toward Taiwan has been characterized as "strategic ambiguity," and the status of Taiwan has been held to be "undetermined."

(8) Even in the eyes of some well-known legal scholars, Taiwan appears to fully meet the conditions for "statehood" in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention of 1934. Yet as of September 2006, Taiwan has been denied admission to the United Nations for fourteen years in a row.

(9) Taiwan was admitted to the World Trade Organization as a separate customs territory, and not as an independent sovereign nation. However, Taiwan has repeatedly been denied admission to the World Health Organization.

(10) In June 1998, President Clinton said that "we don't support independence for Taiwan; or two Chinas; or one Taiwan, one China. And we don't believe that Taiwan should be a member in any organization for which statehood is a requirement."

We all know that Taiwan is not a part of the PRC. However, it seems difficult to explain the above mentioned "curious events" merely by saying that Taiwan is already an independent sovereign nation .....

Perhaps more research is needed.

Editor's note: Some important insight may be gained by recognizing that the Republic of China on Taiwan is a government in exile.