Thank you!The United States Factor in Taiwan’s Security
Reliance on the United States has been the constant element of Taiwan’s security strategy. The Taiwan Relations Act provided Taipei confidence in the United States even after the termination of the U.S.-ROC mutual defense treaty. On the American side of the coin, concern for Taiwan’s security has lasted through several administrations due to the political support Taiwan enjoys in the United States and the knowledge that Asian allies and partners treat Taiwan as a larger litmus test of U.S. resolve. Finally, Beijing was long discouraged from attacking Taiwan because of the risk that capable U.S. armed forces would intervene to protect Taiwan.
Washington does not, however, explicitly commit itself to Taiwan’s defense. To do so would only unnecessarily complicate relations with China. Instead U.S. officials cite the Taiwan Relations Act, speak in general terms about Washington’s “abiding interest” in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and reiterate opposition to either side’s unilaterally changing the status quo—without saying how the United States would respond to such an attempt. Despite the ambiguity of public American rhetoric, the capabilities that the PRC has acquired to complicate any U.S. intervention suggest that it assumes the United States will in fact act to defend Taiwan. Beijing looks at both American words and deeds to assess its intentions.