Many articles in leading newpapers, magazines, and other media have continually urged the U.S. government to adopt a "One Taiwan" Policy. Such a policy would serve as an important supplement to the U.S. Executive Branch's "One China Policy," which most observers say was created by Henry Kissinger.

True, in the early 1970s, the officials of both Mao Zedong's People's Republic of China and Chiang Kai-shek's Republic of China argued adamantly that Taiwan was part of China. In their view, the only dispute lay on who represented the legitimate government of China. Media commentators have followed along in this debate for over forty years, continually digesting large amounts of Chinese propaganda in the process, but without ever taking the time to carefully analyze the legal and historical details.

A careful overview of the historical and legal record fails to find any date when "Taiwan" was either legally incorporated into Chinese territory or actually achieved nationhood status. The following historical timeline is useful for reference.

An Historical Timeline of Important Events

 1945      General Douglas MacArthur directs the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek (Republic of China) to go to Taiwan and accept the surrender of Japanese troops. Chiang's troops are transported to Taiwan on U.S. ships and aircraft, and the surrender ceremonies are held Oct. 25th.
 1949      Communist forces led by Mao Zedong defeat Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists, driving more than two million ROC loyalists to Taiwan. Chiang sets up a government in exile in occupied Taiwan and vows to "recover the mainland." The People's Republic of China (PRC) is founded in the mainland on Oct. 1st.
 1952      The post war San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) comes into effect. Japan renounces all right, claim, and title to Taiwan, but no "receiving country" is designated. The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (Treaty of Taipei) repeats these provisions. Taiwan remains as occupied territory, with United States Military Government jurisdiction over Taiwan as per SFPT Article 4(b), and the United States of America as "the principal occupying power" according to SFPT Article 23(a).
 1954      In October, President Eisenhower remarks that: "Technically, Formosa and the Pescadores are not under Chinese sovereignty. The Chinese Nationalists are living in a privileged sanctuary."
 1955      The U.S. negotiates with the ROC government in exile on Taiwan to conclude a Mutual-Defense Treaty. The treaty comes into force on March 3.
 1958      PRC attacks the island of Quemoy (aka "Jinmen"), a base for about 100,000 Nationalist troops in the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. deploys the Seventh Fleet; the Chinese back down.
 1959      D.C. Circuit Court, quoting from official State Dept. pronouncements in the case of Sheng v. Rogers, holds: ". . . that the sovereignty of Formosa has not been transferred to China; and that Formosa is not a part of China as a country, . . . . Formosa may be said to be a territory or an area occupied and administered by the Government of the Republic of China, but is not officially recognized as being a part of the Republic of China."
 1971      The ROC government in exile on Taiwan is expelled from the United Nations and its seat given to the PRC, following a secret visit to Beijing by the then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
 1972      U.S. President Richard Nixon visits the PRC, paving the way for the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two nations and leading to the end of formal U.S. diplomatic ties with the ROC government in exile on Taiwan.
 1979      The U.S. breaks diplomatic ties with the ROC government in exile on Taiwan as of Jan. 1st, and agrees to abide by a "One China Policy."
 1979      The nomenclature of "Chinese Taipei" is adopted by the ROC government in exile to participate in a wide variety of international organizations, sporting events, associations, councils, etc.
 1987      ROC government in exile on Taiwan lifts martial law after 38 years and allows its "citizens" to visit relatives in the PRC for the first time.
 1988      Lee Teng-hui becomes the ROC government in exile's first native Taiwanese President, and democratic reforms begin to be implemented.
 1993      The first high-level talks between officials of the PRC and the ROC government in exile on Taiwan take place in Singapore.
 1995      A visit to the U.S. by President Lee prompts the PRC to carry out missile tests and military exercises in the Taiwan Strait just before the island's first presidential election by universal suffrage. Lee is victorious at the polls.
 1999      Lee disregards the historical and legal reality by saying that the PRC and the ROC government in exile on Taiwan enjoy a "special state-to-state relationship." Lee fails to comprehend that under international law there are no methods, procedures, or actions which can legitimatize a government in exile to become the internationally recognized legal government of its current location of residence.
 2000      Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chen Shui-bian, also a native Taiwanese, is elected President, ending more than 50 years of Kuomintang rule of the ROC government in exile on Taiwan.
 2002      President Chen defines the status quo as "One country on each side of the Taiwan Strait," closing his eyes to the fact that Taiwan has been occupied territory since Oct. 25, 1945, and "Military occupation does not transfer sovereignty." He and the other members of the DPP fail grasp the legal reality of the principal - agent relationship between the USA and the ROC. In Taiwan, the USA is the principal occupying power, and the ROC is only a subordinate occupying power.
 2009      U.S. Court of Appeals (Washington, D.C.) in the case of Roger Lin v. United States of America issues an opinion that: "America and China's tumultuous relationship over the past sixty years has trapped the inhabitants of Taiwan in political purgatory. During this time the people on Taiwan have lived without any uniformly recognized government. In practical terms, this means they have uncertain status in the world community which infects the population's day-to-day lives."
 2010      The Taiwan Civil Government establishes an Office in Washington, D.C. in order to more effectively coordinate with the members of Congress, State Dept., Defense Dept., NSC, CIA, and other federal agencies.

Many political commentators like to say that the ROC and PRC split amid civil war in 1949, but such a simplification is not correct. Taiwan's legal status is an issue left over from WWII in the Pacific.

The promotion of a so-called "One Taiwan" agenda appears to be based on the argument that Taiwan already meets all international legal specifications for "statehood." However, such an argument is clearly in error.

From the late 1940s to the present, while it is true that Taiwan has never been a part of the PRC, nevertheless Taiwan has never attained the status of an independent sovereign entity either.

A careful analysis of the above Timeline shows that there has never been any transfer of Taiwan's territorial sovereignty to any government entity on Taiwan. To put this another way, the "Republic of China" is not the legal government of Taiwan.

In light of the above, it is not surprising that the consistent U.S. Executive Branch policy has been stated as (a) no support for two Chinas, (b) no independence for Taiwan, and (c) no membership of Taiwan in any international organization of sovereign nations.

The formation of the Taiwan Civil Government does not violate U.S. Executive Branch policy, the TRA, SFPT, etc., rather it more fully clarifies Taiwan's true legal status as a quasi-trusteeship under USMG, and the sixth major insular area of the USA.

Additional Webpages of Interest

The ROC/Taiwan and the Montevideo Convention

TCG Press Conference 2008.02.02

Starr Memorandum