Importance of Taiwan to the USA’s National Interest Paper Example

Taiwan Is More Important To the USA’s National Interest than China

Taiwan and the United States of America enjoy a strong unofficial relationship. Maintaining this relationship is one of the major goals of the USA in its pursuance of peace and stability in Asia. The moral and strategic considerations are the driving factors for the United States of America to express their support for Taiwanese independence. On the other hand, China and the United States relationship seems to be full of distrust and competition for power. The United States’ fear that one day China is going to overtake it regarding economic capacity. The USA has the largest economy followed by China. There have been periods of open conflicts, and one such example is tension during the Vietnam and Korean Wars. There are also unresolved concerns that touch on the democracy of China and the human rights factor in it. This paper seeks to argue the fact that Taiwan is more important to the USA’s national interest than China.

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Principles of Taiwan and the USA Relationship

Both United States and Taiwan are dedicated to building a durable, comprehensive and bilateral partnership. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that seeks to establish the training framework and global cooperation in June 2015 (Ash, Garver, & Prime, 2011). Through these principles, they have expanded their active collaboration and addressed challenges such as public health, international humanitarian assistance, education, regional development, energy, environmental protection, and technology (Clark, 2011). Their partnership is also evident in their cooperative efforts in the response to addressing issues ranging from MERS and Ebola epidemic to the crisis affecting the humanitarian refugee in the Middle East. Taiwan has continued to prove to be a vital partner to the US and the rest of the nations in the region.

Through the U.S Congress, there has been a lot of support for the Taiwanese and the Taiwan government. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which was passed in 1979 by the US Congress still serves as landmark legislation for strengthening the bilateral relationship (Clark, 2011). The TRA also prohibits exclusion or expulsion of the Taiwan by the United States from its continued membership in the international organizations or financial institutions. The US Congress through its different administration has passed various resolutions and bills with an objective of supporting Taiwan. It also recognizes the Taiwan democracy and freedom and authorizes the sale of arms to ensure it improves its defensive capabilities and contribution to the international organizations. In more efforts to promote the US- Taiwan relationship, there was an establishment of Congressional Taiwan Caucus in April 2002, which currently has almost 2002 members from both the Democratic and Republican parties (Ash, Garver, & Prime, 2011). The Senate Taiwan Caucus was established in 2003 and consists of 29 Senators. Through their determination, these caucuses have gained support and currently are the most active and among the largest in the USA Congress, showing their great support for the Taiwanese (Hachigian, 2014).

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The USA Interest in Power Independence of Taiwan and China

There have been great efforts by the United States to free the Taiwanese from the control of the Chinese government, which as it claims, threatens their power and independence. The United States cannot abandon its natural interest in Taiwan because doing so would mean that the Chinese have succeeded in their effort to drive them out of Asia. The United States of America has taken several measures that are geared towards helping the Taiwanese to remain free and ensure that it maintains a balance of the Asian power (Hachigian, 2014). It has encouraged the participation of the Taiwan in the international community as a way of establishing more relationship from the outside world. This has also helped the Taiwanese to increase its diplomatic allies, making it easier for them to be able to join various international organizations. In ensuring that fruitful diplomacy exists between the Taiwanese and other nations, the US has also enforced membership in the international and regional organizations.

On matters of independence and sovereignty, China’s leaders have no interest in seeking a confrontation with the US, and its top priorities are to deal with domestic issues. What worries the Chinese government is the growing discontent among the migrants and rural farmers who may form a revolution force that would overturn the existing government (Hachigian, 2014). The Chinese government directs its efforts in addressing the issue of the rural poor and focuses on strong police control and vibrant economic development. However, there has also been a dispute over the territory of South China Sea, and an alarm was raised concerning the confrontation between the US and China over the matter. China warned that it had the mandate to protect its sovereignty and rejected any international effort to influence it. It claimed that it was a way of undermining the interests of its national security. The USA has been taking several steps that have been aimed at countering the growing influence of China in the region and has in return increased its patrols in the South China Sea. The United States also claim that there has been a violation of the human rights and denial of political liberties by the Chinese government. China argues that they bring about social unrest within the country, and, therefore, it needs to deny them freedom. Social unrest is something that the Chinese authority wants to avoid within its territory because it can bring about crises (Moak, Lee, & Engel, 2016).

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The United States Influence on Taiwan and Chinese Prosperity

The United States has also supported the Taiwanese to grow economically. Since 1979, there have been commercial ties between them. Taiwan is regarded as one of the top most trading partners of the U.A. On the other hand, USA is one of the largest Taiwan’s foreign investors. Taiwan has been given opportunities by the US to enjoy trade relations, import-export banking, financing, and access to USA markets. There have been trading discussions by the AIT seeking the protection of the rights of intellectual property and access to the market for the US goods and services. The value of intellectual property by both countries has enabled them to produce some of the best talents and expertise in the world (Tai, 2015). The US has also encouraged a diversification of cross-strait trade that has been in existence in Taiwan. The Taiwanese have been in a trade agreement with only a few countries, and this has made it difficult for the country to improve its total trade. Hence, the US has encouraged Taiwan to join more trade agreements with the international organizations to improve its total trade (Tai, 2015). It has supported Taiwan by encouraging it to join those groups whose conditions of membership do not require statehood. It also encourages it to participate in organizations where the US membership is not possible so that they can be able to spearhead their development agendas together.

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Unlike in the case of Taiwan, there is politicizing of trade and economic issues between the US and China. There has been the opposition of trade protectionism. The US fears China’s development in its country and that Asia, in general, may alter the geopolitical positions that have been enjoyed by the United States since the beginning of the Cold War, as well as those that have been enjoyed by the Western nations since the 19th century (Goldstein, 2015). China claims that the US has not been committed to the multinational institutions and international norms as a way of protecting their interests. There is also a claim that the American officials are against the political strength and growing economy of China that are channeled towards creating political alliances and free-trade zones that do not involve the US. The US does view China as a firmly and anchored multinational institution for its national interests (Goldstein, 2015).

The United States Interest on Peace in Taiwan and China

The strengthening of the Taiwanese military through the support of the United States has enabled Taiwan to acquire advanced weapons and increase its defense budget. It also assists in assessing its defense needs so that it can meet the future operational needs (Yang, 2015). The US has ensured that Taiwan’s effort to maintain peace and security within its territory is respected and that it continues to enhance its defense capability even in the air. The US appreciates the fact that with the adequate capacity, Taiwan can preserve stability in the region and safeguard the Taiwan Strait (Yang, 2015).

The international competition between the United States and China has been shaped largely by the tension between them. It includes the ability to use force over each other, creating doubt about their peaceful intentions in one another. Any adverse shift of military power within the countries is sometimes feared to be a threat. It is, therefore, hard for the two countries to reach a confident conclusion regarding the intentions of each other. Each state handles the other in a hypocritical manner. Currently, China and the United States have the possibility of engaging in fierce security competition if China completes its rise (Rose & Teo, 2013). Uncertain of the other’s intention, both countries have been engaged in plans to control Asia, raising an alarm of possible war between the two countries. It has been evident by the United States’ stance to compel China to declare its position for diplomatic and military action in Asia. The US politicians have also undermined China when it comes to politics.

Instead, they deal with it in a bipartisan manner. Both the Republicans and the Democrats view China as a means of scoring points within the domestic constituencies. Instead, they should work together to come up with strategies that would help them to develop a broader strategic vision. There has also been a conflict between China and the United States over the control of Taiwan, and the tensions remain. Apart from that, the United States claims that there have been continued violations of laws and the treaty commitments that grant citizens free speech and religious liberty by the Chinese government, generating recriminations within the public and the American government (Blanchard & Shen, 2015).

Education in Taiwan and China

The United States also worked closely with Taiwan in the field of education. There were 21,266 Taiwan students in 2014 who were studying in the US. On the other hand, in the same year, there were 915 US students enrolled in Taiwan Universities. Taiwan also signed MoU in 2005 with various states of the US regarding the cooperation on matters of education (Yang, 2015). They have both offered inter- scholarships for their students. By providing partnership ties and education linkages, the US and Taiwan hope to facilitate international educational cooperation that would benefit both sides and encourage human resource development. From the other side, China needs to be viewed not only as a threat but a challenge to the United States. The Chinese competition with the US cannot be considered only through the economic protectionism but can also be witnessed through its sustainable development in the education sector (Dittmer & Maochun, 2015). The increased political influence by the Chinese government is addressed through the expansion of the existing institutions rather than the timid isolation or the bellicose unilateralism. It gives the Chinese authorities the role of shaping the international order and bearing the responsibilities in the handling of international crises like those of Sudan and North Korea (Rose & Teo, 2013).

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The China and US relationship in the 21st century cannot be underestimated. There is a great transformation of the world population through the development of Chinese economy (Clark, 2011). China’s ability to expand and have global influence, its economic growth, military modernization and human rights have brought about uncertainty in its future. It makes the United States view China as a potential partner in the economic trade, but fears also surround its thinking that the economy of China may one day overtake that of the US. The rise of power in China has also generated some conflicts. There has been a press by the Chinese authority on the government of the United States to a new model of country relationship, but the US avoids the outcomes of such a relationship (Dittmer & Maochun, 2015).

The existence of Chinese power is inextricably linked to the US postwar policy making. Some of the Americans have viewed it as a success while others as the greatest failure. The normalization of the China-US relations led to the liberalization of trade relationships and attracted economic reformers who expressed their interest in revitalizing the small China’s economy. The enactment of the American-Chinese relationship policy has been successive in building China and has in some ways being refuted for its failure to understand the indirect consequences that may affect the country in their effort to empower it. In their attempt to combat this problem, the American policy makers have reconsidered establishing assumptions that are ideologically driven in the analysis process. An example of such an assumption is that growth in the middle class will lead to political liberalization (Tai, 2015).

For mutual benefit, both China and the United States should stop supporting trade protectionism. They should ensure that there is a dialogue on how they can strategize for a joint commerce and trade. To improve this relationship, the USA should ensure that it recognizes the market economy of China and revises export controls that may hinder the efforts for mutual benefits (Blanchard & Shen, 2015). Both countries should also expand their convergence in the trade cooperation and economic interests. They both have high potential and should restructure the industries so that they can achieve growth potential together. There should be a consistent and effective utilization of technology, capital and market, as well as promoted cooperation in trading of services. Both countries should also have investment and trade facilitation. It is possible if there is mutual opening up of policies that would bring about transparency and facilitation of investments. To further ensure that there is a mutual cooperation, both countries should support the multilateral trading system development (Blanchard & Shen, 2015). It would help in ensuring that negotiations that have been taking place between them are safeguarded and put into action.


Taiwan is a democratic nation that is fully fledged and shares with the United States issues such as democracy, freedom, education, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and economies that are market-based. Taiwan is also a crucial trading partner in almost all major sectors and provides a great export market for the US products. Over the years, there has been a robust relationship and close partnership between Taiwan and the United States. It has been made possible through a strong commitment and shared interest and if maintained will make the relationship continue to flourish even in the future. On the other hand, the relationship between the United States and China have been characterized by struggles to outdo the each other in power, expertise, education, control, and the economic capability. Although there has been cooperation between the United States and China in various occasions, the national interest for Taiwan is much greater than that of China for the United States.

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