The “ASL” as the “Anti-TRA”: The Impact of China’s Anti-Secession Law on U.S. Relations with Taiwan

  • John J. TkacikJr.


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.


Chinese Communist Party Bush Administration Xinhua News Agency Taiwan Issue National Unification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 9.
    Wang Jisi, “Impact of U.S. Strategic Adjustment on Sino-U.S. Relations,” Beijing Xuexi Shibao, Internet version, August 16, 2004.Google Scholar
  2. 15.
    See Edgar Snow, Red Star Over China (New York: Grove Press, 1961), p. 96.Google Scholar
  3. 21.
    Benjamin Kang Lim, “China to Consider Taiwan Reunification Law-Premier,” Reuters, May 11, 2004.Google Scholar
  4. 24.
    See Liu Ping, “U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Armitage: President Chen Inaugural Speech won’t enflame Strait Tensions,” Taipei Commercial Times, May 20, 2004.Google Scholar
  5. 28.
    Arthur Waldron and John Tkacik Jr., “China’s Power Struggle,” The Wall Street Journal Asia, August 13, 2004, at,,SB109235074074490451,00.html.Google Scholar
  6. 29.
    See Wang Zhuozhong, Rual Leyi, Wang Mingyi, “Hu Jintao outlines Taiwan Work Policy, Four Views, Three Whatevers,” Zhongguo Shibao electronic version, March 12, 2003.Google Scholar
  7. 30.
    See Wang Lijuan, “Unification of the Strait, Hu Jintao’s Progression on Taiwan, from ‘Four Points on Taiwan’, to the ‘May 17 Declaration’ to the Anti Secession Law, toughness is the gentle way,” Shijie Ribao (New York), December 20, 2004.Google Scholar
  8. 41.
    Anthony Faiola, “Japan to Join U.S. Policy on Taiwan -Growth of China Seen Behind Shift,” The Washington Post, February 18, 2005, p. A01 at Scholar
  9. 43.
    See Richard Boucher, Spokesman, “Joint Statement ofthe U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee”, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, on February 19, 2005 at Scholar
  10. 44.
    Yu Shan, “U.S. and Japan must not add to confusion in Taiwan Strait (International Forum),” Renmin Ribao, February 19, 2005, p. 3, at Scholar
  11. 46.
    see John J. Tkacik, Jr. “China Is Using North Korea As Leverage,” Wall Street Journal Asia, February 21, 2005, at,,SB110895247121759897,00.html.Google Scholar
  12. 47.
    Chris Buckley, “Chinese Envoy Returns From North Korea Saying It Is Open to Talks,” The New York Times, February 24, 2005, at Scholar
  13. 48.
    Wang Zhuozhong, “Only 100 people have seen Anti-Secession Law,” Zhongguo Shibao electronic version, March 7, 2005.Google Scholar
  14. 58.
    Liu Ping, “China informs U.S.: Won’t hesitate to use ‘Anti-Secession Law,’” Zhongguo Shibao electronic version, May 5, 2007.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Cheng-yi Lin and Denny Roy 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. TkacikJr.

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations