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    1994 Taiwan Policy Review

1994 Taiwan Policy Review

I am pleased to inform you that President Clinton has approved some adjustments in the way in which we conduct our unofficial relationship with Taiwan.  In studying the matter over the years, our goal was to find ways to better serve our substantive interests in Taiwan and to enrich the US-Taiwan relationship which has grown so remarkably in a wide variety of fields in recent years.

At the same time we will preserve fully the framework of our one-China policy and the unofficial nature of US-Taiwan relations.

We will continue to conduct these relations through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

The US one-China policy has proven to be a reliable foundation for peace, stability and economic development on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The Taiwan Relations Act and three communiques will continue to be at the heart of this policy, and the Administration will fully maintain them.

We have noted also that profound economic and political changes have taken place both in China and Taiwan and in the nature of the relationship between them.

In the US view, the cross-Strait talks between Taiwan and the PRC have been important in promoting stability in the region and the security of Taiwan.  While we will not comment on the details of your discussions, we continue to wish the cross-Strait dialogue success.

Throughout these changes, the US has worked to maintain mutually beneficial ties with both the PRC and Taiwan, seeking closer cooperation and the avoidance of conflict that would impinge on the vital interests of any of us.

The President's decisions reflect an effort to adjust to changing circumstances in Taiwan and the PRC, to keep the essential elements of our past policy that have promoted peace and development in the area, and have enhanced Taiwan's security while making adjustments to advance our mutual interests in light of a changed environment.

Specifically, the president has approved the following adjustments to our policy.  We will:


Permit Taiwan's top leadership to transit US territory for their travel convenience, for periods of time normal for transits, but without undertaking any public activities.  We will consider each case individually.

We are prepared to initiate, under AIT auspices, a sub-Cabinet economic dialogue (at the under-Secretary level) and TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) talks with Taiwan.  We will be in touch with you with specific proposals in this regard.

When we believe it is clearly appropriate, we will more actively support Taiwan's membership in international organizations accepting non-states as members, and look for ways to have Taiwan's voice heard in organizations of states where Taiwan's membership is not possible.

We will permit high level US Government officials, from economic and technical agencies to visit Taiwan, as well as more senior economic and technical officers from the Department of State.  As we do this, we will make judgments as to what level of visitor best serve our interests.

We will permit US government officials to travel to Taiwan to meet with your officials at whatever level.

We will permit all AIT employees, including the Director and Deputy Director, access to your Foreign Affairs Ministry, if so desired.

In the US we will permit US Cabinet-level officials from economic and technical departments to meet with Taiwan representatives and visitors in official settings.  These meetings will be arranged through AIT.

We will permit State Department Officials at the Under Secretary level and below, who handle economic and technical issues to meet Taiwan representatives but in unofficial settings.

Today, we discussed the President's decision to allow CCNAA to change its name.  In light of that discussion, we can agree that your official office's name will be changed to Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

Other elements of our Taiwan policy will not change, as follows:

AIT will continue to be the instrument through which the unofficial relationship will be conducted, as directed in the Taiwan Relations Act.

Consistent with our unofficial relationship, visits as opposed to transits, by Taiwan's top leaders will not be permitted.

Taiwan representatives will not be permitted access to the State Department, the White House or Old Executive Building.

The US will not support Taiwan's membership in organizations such as the UN, which only admits states.

There is no change in our arms sales policy.

The above adjustments to our Taiwan policy underscore the US commitments to enriching mutually beneficial economic, commercial and cultural contacts with the people of Taiwan.

Our relationship is a sensitive matter in Beijing, and we regret that these adjustments will draw strong criticism.  We are prepared for this, but we also believe that any actions in Taipei to heighten Beijing's sensitivity would be in neither your interest nor ours.

We trust that the Taiwan authorities will exercise care and public references to these adjustments and not attempt to portray them as a fundamental shift in the nature of our relations.

It is our view that any publicity which misconstrues the nature and purposes of these adjustments increases the possibility of a PRC backlash.  We hope you will take this fully into account.

Most of these changes will be implemented immediately.  On others, such as the sub-Cabinet economic dialogue, we would like to soon begin detailed discussions about implementation.

If asked; We have not ruled out visits by Cabinet officers of economic and technical agencies.


Reprinted with the permission of the Taiwan Documents Project

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