The Republic of China government-in-exile on Taiwan




(1) The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) contains assurances to “ . . . . make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.

It should be noted that the TRA only uses the terminology of “make available,” or “provide.”  The word “sell” is not mentioned.  Recognition of this fact is very important.

(2) However, in any event, the consideration of self-defense clearly implies that the government of the geographical area in question has some legitimacy in both local law and in international law, otherwise the terminology of “self-defense” is misleading.  How could there be any right to self-defense over a territory in which the government authorities do not have a sovereign claim?

In the case of Taiwan, this illustrates the crux of the problem.  Formosa and the Pescadores” (aka Taiwan) are a territorial cession under Article 2(b) of the San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) of April 28, 1952.  However, these areas were not awarded to the ROC.

(3) A close reading of the treaty shows that Taiwan has actually remained under the jurisdiction of a US federal agency, the United States Military Government (USMG). Taiwan is not Chinese territory, and indeed from the period of WWII in the Pacific up to today, the US Executive Branch has never recognized the forcible incorporation of Taiwan into Chinese territory.

(4) Accordingly, the ROC government has no right to institute military conscription over the local populace and claim the right to “self-defense” over a geographic area to which they do not have any internationally recognized “title.”  

All of the bellicose ROC government policies based on the premise of “ownership” of Taiwan territory should, most properly, be construed as criminal acts.

(5) A solution may be at hand however.   The Taiwan Relations Act clarifies that “ . . . . . The President is directed to inform the Congress promptly of any threat to the security or the social or economic system of the people on Taiwan and any danger to the interests of the United States arising therefrom. The President and the Congress shall determine, in accordance with constitutional processes, appropriate action by the United States in response to any such danger. 

This provides a clear methodology whereby the defense of Taiwan can be undertaken directly by USMG. 


These efforts to diminish underlying conditions have material as well as intangible dimensions.  Ongoing US efforts to resolve regional disputes, foster economic, social, and political development, market-based economies, good governance, and the rule of law, while not necessarily focused on combating terrorism, contribute to the campaign by addressing underlying conditions that terrorists often seek to manipulate for their own advantage.  Additionally, diminishing these conditions requires the United States, with its friends and allies, to win the "war of ideas," to support democratic values, and to promote economic freedom.

-- National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, February 2003