In their policies toward Taiwan, both Washington and Beijing have been faced with a dilemma over the last three decades. For the United States, the dilemma is that it cannot recognize diplomatically both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan and has to make a reluctant choice between the two parties. For the PRC, the dilemma is that it cannot use force to “liberate Taiwan” without jeopardizing its normal relations with the United States. As a compromise, the United States switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the PRC while maintaining substantial unofficial relations with Taipei and adhering to the principle of peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue. At the same time, Beijing advocated peaceful reunification of China while retaining military means as the last resort to prevent Taiwan from moving toward de jure independence, particularly in the wake of the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait crisis.


Taiwanese People Peaceful Resolution Taiwan Issue Strategic Ambiguity Conditional Commitment 
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    David, Shambaugh, “The United States and China: Cooperation or Confrontation?” Current History, 96, no. 611 (September 1997): 141–45.Google Scholar

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© Shiping Hua 2006

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  • Gang Lin

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