This year marked the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The document was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. The official US-Taiwan position is that the TRA is a cornerstone of the friendship between the two countries. But the reality is very different.
Anti-Chinese rhetoric has it that China is an imperialistic, aggressive country that wants to annex Taiwan by force. But this is just one side of the coin. The complicity of the United States in selling out Taiwan for a short-term geopolitical and subsequently economic advantage has been systematically downplayed by mainstream media. If Taiwan faces a mortal threat and must negotiate with the PRC from a weak bargaining position, it is because the United States accepted the PRC version of the Taiwan issue. This left Taiwan not only diplomatically isolated and psychologically humiliated, but it also left it alone in case of an attack from the mainland. As the United States does not recognise the Republic of China as a sovereign state, it cannot sign a mutual defence treaty with it, and therefore it is likely that in case of war the US will not intervene.
In the next posts, I will first provide a few documents that demonstrate the development of US-PRC relations prior to 1979. Afterwards, I will talk about the Sino-American negotiations of the 1970s, the normalisation of relations between the two sides, and the TRA. I will show how the US government engaged in secret talks with the PRC leadership bypassing the US Congress and not informing the public; how it sacrificed Taiwan to geopolitical considerations; and how it endorsed the PRC’s claim to Taiwan.