Cohen, Jerome Alan
October 1971
Foreign Affairs;Oct71, Vol. 50 Issue 1, p30
This article examines the obstacles facing the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China, as of October 1971. Will the U.S. succeed in normalizing relations with China? Much depends upon what he has in mind concerning the Republic of China on Taiwan. The consistent practice of 22 years leaves no doubt that China and Taiwan regard themselves as competing, mutually exclusive representatives of the same territorial community, the state of China, and that is the way they have been treated by the rest of the world. For these reasons we cannot be sanguine about prospects for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China unless the U.S. is prepared to confirm, if only tacitly, that Taiwan is Chinese territory. Other problems may also have to be dealt with in negotiating the establishment of diplomatic relations. In the course of the Chinese Revolution in 1948-49 the victorious communist forces acted harshly against a number of American consular officials who remained behind after the departure of the nationalist government to which they were accredited. Obviously, a multitude of factors have to be weighed in deciding to withdraw recognition from Taiwan and to confer it upon China. Of course, the establishment of diplomatic relations will not transform enmity into amity, but it is a prerequisite for significantly relaxing Sino-American tensions.


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