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This project is guided by its research question of why and how the Nixon and Carter administrations decided to maintain unofficial relations with Taiwan, despite pursuing the normalization of relations with the People’s Republic of China. President Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger struggled to answer this question and left it up to “historical evolutions.” The Carter administration believed in three fundamental principles, each spearheaded by different agents in the administration: (1) that the United States had a moral obligation not to jeopardize the future of the Taiwanese people, (2) that the United States must pursue normalization with the PRC while, at the same time, placing an expectation that the reunification of Taiwan to mainland China must be peaceful, and (3) that the way the United States handled the Taiwan question would define their image and integrity not only to the people of Taiwan, but also to other allies and the American people themselves. As a result, the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) was passed after a swift back-and-forth between the 96th Congress and the Carter administration. In enforcing this act, the United States gives itself the right to sell Taiwan defensive weaponry. The act also establishes that the United States and Taiwan will maintain cultural, commercial, and other relations that will bolster the interests of both parties.
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Matthews, Evan H., "A Delicate Balance: US-China-Taiwan Relations under the Nixon and Carter administrations in the 1970s" (2022). Senior Projects Spring 2022. 249.
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