The “ASL” as the “Anti-TRA”: The Impact of China’s Anti-Secession Law on U.S. Relations with Taiwan
Beijing’s “Anti-Secession Law”1 (ASL) of March 14, 2005, marked the end of the tacit understanding that Washington and Beijing had shared since December 16, 1978, under which Beijing pretended to pursue a policy of peaceful unification while Washington pretended to pursue a one-China policy. On the fourth anniversary of its promulgation, however, the ASL appears to have achieved its primary goal: to bolster the credibility of China’s threats to go to war over Taiwan and thereby to undermine Washington’s security commitment to Taiwan. The rest of the ASL is essentially superfluous—except as a propaganda exercise—because China’s territorial claim to Taiwan is well embedded in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.2 In fact, ironically, the only part of China that the PRC Constitution declares to be “part of the sacred territory of the People’s Republic of China” is Taiwan—not Beijing, or Tibet or Xinjiang, or downtown Shanghai. Moreover, says the constitution, “It is the lofty duty of the entire Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland.” The idea that Taiwan is part of China’s territory is enumerated in other places as well—in China’s “Law on Territorial Sea,”3 for example.
KeywordsChinese Communist Party Bush Administration Xinhua News Agency Taiwan Issue National Unification
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