IS IT TIME TO CHANGE THE ONE-CHINA POLICY?: STATUS QUO REMAINS THE LEAST DANGEROUS OPTION
DiDuca, Bradley T.
Glosny, Michael A.
Meyskens, Covell F.
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The strategic ambiguity inherent in the United States’ One-China policy toward China and Taiwan is largely derived from three joint communiques, the Taiwan Relations Act, President Ronald Reagan’s Six Assurances, and subsequent presidential statements. The geostrategic environment has changed substantially in the intervening period, with the rise of China and its aggressive behavior leading to a more adversarial U.S.-China relationship and a new era of great power competition. In this new environment, this thesis asks: Is the United States’ One-China policy still the best approach to China and Taiwan? After defining the components of the United States’ One-China policy, this thesis analyzes the three primary policy options: 1) abandon commitments to Taiwan, 2) double-down on the commitments to Taiwan, and 3) maintain the status quo. Through systematic analysis, this thesis draws three primary conclusions. First, the relative economic and military power dominance of the United States, coupled with the importance of credibility to regional alliances, render an abandonment of commitments to be unjustified and dangerous. Second, doubling-down on commitments is unnecessarily provocative to a core interest of China, especially considering the formidable defense already possessed by Taiwan. Finally, maintaining the status quo through a careful adherence of the One-China policy remains the best policy option for the United States.
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