House Lawmakers Introduce Bill to End US Adoption of ‘One China Policy’

By Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers US, China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
March 2, 2021 Updated: March 2, 2021

TAIPEI, Taiwan—U.S. Reps. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.) have introduced legislation calling on the U.S. government to drop its “one-China policy” and resume formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

“For more than 40 years, American presidents of both political parties have repeated Beijing’s bogus lie that Taiwan is part of Communist China–despite the objective reality that it is not,” stated Tiffany, according to a March 1 press release from his office.

“Taiwan is a free, democratic, and independent country, and it’s time U.S. policy reflected that fact,” Tiffany added. “It is time to do away with this outdated policy.”

The United States currently is not a formal diplomatic ally of Taiwan, since Washington changed its diplomatic recognition in favor of Beijing in 1979. Since then, the United States has maintained a non-diplomatic relationship with Taiwan based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

The TRA authorizes the United States to supply Taiwan with military equipment for the island’s self-defense. Moreover, the TRA calls for the setup of a nonprofit corporation called the American Institute in Taiwan, which is now the de-facto U.S. embassy on the island.

The United States has long held a “one-China policy,” which asserts that there is only one sovereign state with the name “China,” but it is different from the “one-China principle” under which the Chinese regime asserts sovereignty over Taiwan. The Taiwan government has also rejected China’s “one-China principle.”

China claims Taiwan as a part of its territory and has threatened to reunite the island with the mainland with military action. However, Taiwan is a de-facto independent nation with its own democratic government, constitution, and military.

“As an independent nation that proudly collaborates with Taiwan across a wide spectrum of issues, it’s long past time the United States exercised our sovereign right to state what the world knows to be true: Taiwan is an independent country, and has been for over 70 years,” stated Perry according to the press release.

Aside from calling for the United States to drop its “One China Policy,” the bill (H.Con.Res.21) proposes that the U.S. government appoint an ambassador to Taiwan, and receive a Taiwanese ambassador to the United States.

Currently, Taiwan’s official representative office in the United States is called the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), and it is headed by Representative Hsiao Bi-khim.

The bill also proposes that the U.S. government should initiate formal negotiations with Taiwan for a bilateral free-trade agreement.

Finally, the U.S. President and other U.S. officials should “advocate for Taiwan’s full membership in the United Nations and other international organizations in which the United States is a member,” according to the language of the bill.

Taiwan is currently not a member of the World Health Organization because of objections by Beijing.

The bill is a concurrent resolution that lacks the force of law. It also does not require the signature of the U.S. President to be enacted.

Tiffany introduced a similar concurrent resolution (H.Con.Res.117) in September last year. That resolution was co-sponsored by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.).

On Tuesday, Joanne Ou, spokeswoman of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thanked the two U.S. lawmakers in a daily briefing. She added that the ministry will continue to follow the development of the bill. 

Frank Fang
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers US, China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.