One China policy is a declaration stating that there is only one country China of which Taiwan is a part. Geographically, Taiwan is an east-Asian island located near China’s mainland. This policy denies Taiwan’s status as a separate country. China sees Taiwan as the province that one day would be reunified with it. However, Taiwan sees it in another way.
Taiwan, on the other hand, claims to be an independent country. It has an autonomously running government, known as the Republic of China (ROC). It has a democratically elected president, armed forces, and its own currency – Taiwan dollar.
How Did This All Begin?
The roots of this declaration can be traced back to the end of the Chinese civil war. Kuomintang, the defeated Nationalists, moved to Taiwan and made it their country, establishing the seat of the government there. While the victorious Communists stayed in mainland China and formed the government People’s Republic of China. Both sides claimed that they represented China. Since then Taiwan has been threatened by the Communist Party of China of using force if Taiwan formally declares independence.
One China Policy through World’s Lens
While both China and Taiwan are sturdy in their claims, most of the world sides with China. Many countries don’t recognize Taiwan as an independent country. Taiwan also has to go through a number of naming contortions just so that it can be registered in events like the Olympic Games or institutions like the World Trade Organization.
Initially, however, Taiwan had an edge. Many countries including the USA recognized it and maintained their distance from Communist China. However, at the beginning of the 1970s, both the US and China saw the need for a mutual relation. Many countries, including the US, cut ties with Taiwan. However, they have been maintaining relations with Taiwan backstage.
Soon after the US officially severed the ties with Taiwan, it passed the Taiwan Relations Act, ensuring the support for the island. The US has an unofficial presence there too through the American Institute in Taiwan. This institution helps them both to perform diplomatic activities. Other countries, too, maintain informal relations with Taiwan through cultural institutes or trade offices. The US has stayed as a primary security ally to Taiwan.