Taiwan's Fate

Two Chinas But Not Forever

by Michael Pillsbury


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A December 1973 Columbia University seminar paper, reissued without revision, describing the deliberately ambiguous de facto independence of Taiwan. The Kissinger-Chou Shanghai Communique can be interpreted in opposite ways. No one could have predicted that Red China would accept this "two Chinas but not forever" policy before the March 1969 Sino-Soviet border clashes motivated Peking to seek more positive relations with the United States. Now, while Peking still proclaims the "one China" principle, U.S.-Taiwanese trade grows as though the island will never be communized. The United States contributed to Taiwan's air and submarine forces without public protest from Peking. Moscow is subtly flirting with Taipei. Despite a reported atmosphere of political repression, a military coup from either the left or right cannot be ruled out. If Taiwan were to renounce the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that she signed, her nuclear reactors could produce nuclear weapons in a few years, an outcome that Peking and Washington both wish to prevent.

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