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During and in following years of the Second World War, the Republic of China (ROC), or recognized more commonly today as Taiwan, maintained foreign relations with nations around the world, including the United States and various other free states. However, following the Chinese Civil War, a fierce confrontation between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the ROC caused the displacement of the latter into the island of Taiwan. Despite this, many countries still recognized the ROC as the overall representative of China for many years, as it was the forefront of economic and social development in Southeast Asia.

Unfortunately, the communist party soon established a new government under the name “People’s Republic of China” (PRC), and continued to increase its global influence as globalization and industrialization flourished. In 1971, the ROC’s presence in the United Nations was replaced by the PRC. Due to diplomatic pressures from Beijing, many countries around the world were forced to recognize both states under the unified name “People’s Republic of China”, despite the PRC never having control over the island of Taiwan.

However, the issue that kicked off this current set of events is a much more recent development. With the ever-expanding reach of Covid-19, several nations around the world are now under complete lockdown and in states of national emergency. The World Health Organization (WHO), which is currently the leading organization in the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic, has barred the country from participating in these efforts. Before the coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic, the ROC had warned the WHO on the possibilities of a new human-to-human infectious disease. Unfortunately, due to the PRC’s pressure on global organizations, which includes the WHO, the health organization did not act upon the information, choosing instead to neglect the issue at hand.

The United States of Taiwan have maintained a long-lasting, supportive relationship since even before the Second World War.

US Relations With Taiwan

Despite the Republic of China being erased from global political maps of several governments around the world, the United States has continued to indirectly support them through private organizations and international trade. The US has been the island’s second largest trading partner, while the island has maintained its position as the ninth largest trading partner for the United States

The focus of this article is a US law that was ratified in the last couple of days. The legislation— initially named the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act— was unanimously approved in October 2019 by the Senate, and passed by the House of Representatives this month, on March 4. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, finally signed off on the bill, officially recognizing the international economic, military, and political efforts of Taiwan.

Tsai Ing-wen, the current President of the Republic of China, making a diplomatic visit to the United States in 2019.


What Does This Mean For The ROC?

Under the bill, the United States will consider reducing its economic, diplomatic, and security engagement with nations that take actions against the Republic of China. Beijing’s response to this bill reflected their agenda, as they claimed that the actions of the United States were an effort to undermine domestic affairs in China, going as far as calling the TAIPEI Act a “severe violation of the one-China principle.” 

Further cementing the US’s support for the Republic, the bill states that the country will advocate for the country’s membership in all international organizations where statehood is not a requirement. Hopefully this will allow Taiwan to expand its relations with more countries, and go further than it did before 2016, when a total of 8 countries cut off ties with the nation and the WHO revoked its observer status after the election of current president Tsai Ing-wen.

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