About IEAS Thematic Research Projects
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  • Publish Date:2016/07/05
    Modify Date:2020/12/03

U.S.-Taiwan-China Relations

Project Coordinator: Chi-hung Wei Chien-Huei Wu
Research Members: Chien-Huei Wu, Cheng-Yi Lin,  David W. F. Huang (on secondment), Chi-hung Wei, Jaw-ling Joanne Chang
I. History and Major Objectives: 
The Institute of European and American Studies emerged from an expansion of the Institute of American Culture (whose predecessor was the Center of American Studies). Since the foundation of the Institute, Sino-American relations have been listed as a major focus, but after official diplomatic relations broke off between the Republic of China and the United States in 1979, Sino-American studies become a key inter-disciplinary research program. In furtherance of that program, every other year or so, we publish an annual report of Sino-American Relations on topics concerning political, military, diplomatic, economic and cultural issues. Since 1992, we have published reports following international or local symposia at which scholars present papers on developments in relations between the U.S., Taiwan, and China. Papers passing critical review are collected—with relevant Chinese and English documents as appendices—and published as a book. To date, we have published 13 volumes of Sino-American Relations (from 1979 to 2011), and four books in English: (1) R.O.C.-U.S.A. Relations, 1979-1989 (Taipei: Institute of American Culture, Academia Sinica, 1991); (2) United States-Taiwan Relations: Twenty Years after the Taiwan Relations Act (Baltimore, MD: School of Law, University of Maryland, 2000); (3) The Future of United States, China, and Taiwan Relations (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); (4) Major Law and Policy Issues in the South China Sea: European and American Perspectives (Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2014).
Beyond its academic purposes, this key program has policy implications, with individual members of the IEAS making policy suggestions to relevant governmental departments based on the research findings. These efforts were recognized, in part, by the extension of invitations to three members to join the government in different positions between 2003 and 2008.
II. Research Highlights:
Research on “U.S.-Taiwan-China Relations” focuses on exploring medium- and long-term developments in trilateral relations between Washington, Taipei and Beijing in the 21st century. Our research examines efforts between the U.S. and China to build “a new model of major-country relations”; the U.S. “rebalancing” strategy towards the Asia-Pacific; developments in U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and the Obama administration’s policy on the East and South China Seas. With the rise of China and the narrowing gap between the comprehensive national powers wielded by the U.S. and China, U.S.-China relations have become the world’s most important bilateral relationship. How that relationship evolves will affect not only Taiwan, but also Japan and ASEAN, and will impact the situation in the East and South China Seas. The U.S. has long been concerned with the development of cross Strait relations, and, if necessary, will play a role to prevent the emergence of a major crisis. In addition to the above listed topics, we will also broaden the scope of the research theme to focus on “the role of the U.S. in the East and South China Seas and its implications for U.S.-Taiwan-China relations.”
III. Future Research Directions:
Over the next five years, research will focus on the following issues:
  1. The effect of the U.S.-Taiwan-China relations and the U.S. executive-congressional relations on foreign policy:
    To examine and analyze Obama’s second-term policy, “Rebalancing Asia-Pacific”, the significance of U.S. executive-congressional relations, and the decisions of the 113th United States Congress, on U.S.-Taiwan-China relations; the impact of the 2016 presidential elections in Taiwan and the U.S. on U.S.-Taiwan-China relations.
  2. A re-interpretation of U.S.-Taiwan-China relations in the Cold War era:
    To publish academic papers on Chiang Kai-shek and U.S.-China relations; specifically, Chiang Kai-shek and the Korean War (1950-1953), the resolutions of the three Taiwan Strait Crises (1954-1955, 1958, 1962), Chiang Kai-shek’s failed attempts to acquire U.S. F4 fighters and submarines, Chiang Kai-shek and the question of sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands, and Chiang Kai-shek and the South China Sea policy.
  3. The U.S. position on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its marine policy:
    To continue the study of U.S. policy on East/South China Sea conflicts; to take a closer look at U.S. policy on UNCLOS, including deep seabed issues, the possibility of U.S. becoming a member of the UNCLOS, and the resolutions to conflicts over maritime claims.
  4. Comparative study of the National Security Councils in the U.S., Taiwan, China and Japan:
    To compare and contrast the construction, functions, progress, and developments of the National Security Councils of Taiwan, the U.S., Japan, and China.
  5. Comparative study of marine management agencies in the U.S. and other countries:
    To compare and contrast the construction, functions, progress, and developments of marine management agencies in the U.S., Taiwan, and China.
  6. The U.S.-China conflict in the South China Sea and its implications for U.S.-Taiwan and Cross-Strait relations:
    To study the conflict of interest between the U.S. and China in the South China Sea, and its impact on U.S.-Taiwan and Cross-Strait relations. The findings will provide insights on Taiwan’s South China Sea policy, and consider the implications of its impact on security in the U.S., China, and ASEAN.
  7. Research on interactions between the U.S. and ASEAN with regards to South China Sea issues:
    To take a closer look at the standpoints and interactions between the U.S. and ASEAN on the challenges faced in recent years, for example, defending themselves against threats from China on South China Sea issues.
  8. Research on disputes in the East China Sea and their impact on the U.S.-Taiwan-China relations:
    To study and analyze the important role the East China Sea plays in U.S.-Taiwan-China relations, and to determine points of potential conflict in the region in the next five years; to establish the East China Sea Dispute and U.S.-Taiwan-China Relations Study Group.
  9. Interactive model of the U.S., Taiwan and China in APEC:
    To reexamine APEC’s interactive model on U.S.-Taiwan-China relations over the last 20 years, and to establish future plans by analyzing the U.S.’s rebalancing policy in Asia-Pacific, establishing APEC as a platform for economic integration and cooperation, and utilizing APEC functions to open up the Asian market.
  10. Trends and co-opetition in regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region:
    To look at the roles of the U.S. and China in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), their influences in the Asia-Pacific region, and how the consequences of their policies impact Taiwan’s future economic development.
  11. Research on the U.S. government’s evaluation of the Cross-Strait workers’ rights situation:
    To continue monitoring the U.S. government’s evaluation of Cross-Strait workers’ rights, the U.S.’s standpoint on recent Cross-Strait labor law reforms, and the influence and future development of the TPP on Cross-Strait workers’ rights.