Gerrit van der Wees: The Past and Present State of U.S. Taiwan Relations

  1. to evoke a sense of self-esteem and enhance women’s dignity,
  2. to oppose gender discrimination and promote gender equality,
  3. to fully develop women’s potential and encourage their participation in public affairs,
  4. to contribute to the advancement of human rights and democratic development in Taiwan,
  5. to reach out and work with women’s organizations worldwide to promote peace for all.

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • U.S. President Joe Biden’s remarks on the U.S.’s willingness to help defend Taiwan
  • The Taiwan Relations Act, the document that contains US commitments to (help) defend Taiwan, and its first two clauses
  • How U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken referred to the second clause of the Taiwan Relations Act in a speech he made at the end of May
  • What the second clause of the Taiwan Relations Act says and means
  • The background of the Taiwan Relations Act
  • How Harvey Feldman of the East Asia Pacific desk of the U.S. State Department was involved in initially drafting the Taiwan Policy Act
  • How in 1979 the U.S. Congress started drafting the Taiwan Relations Act which had security clauses and a human rights clause embedded within it
  • How Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Claiborne Pell, and Congressman Jim Leach were instrumental in drafting the Taiwan Relations Act and getting it passed in April 1979
  • The establishment of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in January 1979
  • Mark Chen’s (陳唐山) work with Senators and Congressmen to ensure that the Taiwan Relations Act took into consideration the native Taiwanese perspective
  • The Taiwan Communique and why it was established
  • How news from and about Taiwan while under martial law was obtained, communicated and printed in the Taiwan Communique
  • How dangwai (outside party) magazines: Měilì dǎo aka Formosa Magazine (美麗島) and Bāshí niándài aka 1980s (8十年代) were sources of information for the Taiwan Communique
  • How the George Washington University library has a complete collection of dangwai magazines from Taiwan
  • The censorship of postal mail that was received in and sent out from Taiwan during the martial law era
  • After the Taiwan democratized in the early 1990s the focus of the Taiwan Communique shifted to working to gain more international recognition for Taiwan
  • What the “One China Policy” means from the perspective of the U.S. and China
  • How the “One China Policy” which was based on the 1970s, a time in which Beijing and Taipei that claimed to be the government of China
  • How things have changed since the 1970s, which requires an adjustment in policy to reflect current times
  • What makes the Taiwan Relations Act so unique
  • How Taiwan meets all the requirements of a nation state according to the Montevideo Convention of 1933
  • How Montevideo Convention states that the existence of an independent state does not depend on the recognition of other states
  • When the United States of America declared independence in 1776 there were no other countries that recognized the new government in Washington D.C. for two years
  • For the first 25 years of the United States of America it was only recognized by seven countries
  • The Taiwan Travel Act
  • Why the U.S. policy of strategic ambiguity toward Taiwan is not a policy
  • How the term “strategic ambiguity” dates back to the mid-1990s
  • Robert Suettinger’s 2003 book, Beyond Tiananmen
  • Gerrit’s thoughts on the war in Ukraine and what China is taking away from the situation
  • Gerrit’s observations on how the war in Ukraine has impacted the people of Taiwan
  • Things that Taiwan need to reconsider about its military strategy

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Felicia Lin

Felicia Lin


Felicia Lin is a Taiwanese American writer and social media enthusiast. To learn more about her visit: