Managing the Taiwan Issue

Key Is Better U.S. Relations with China

January 24, 1995

Task Force Report
Analysis and policy prescriptions of major foreign policy issues facing the United States, developed through private deliberations among a diverse and distinguished group of experts.

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China

Taiwan

Conflict Prevention

One of the highest national security priorities of the United States must be to help reduce tensions over the Taiwan issue. Domestic political trends in the People's Republic of China and Taiwan as well as political currents in the United States and exacerbating competing national interests to threaten the equilibrium that has been maintained for almost two decades. Taiwan is seeking greater international recognition and pursuing policies that the P.R.C perceives as "creeping independence" and views with deep emotion and hostility. This tension is unsettling to all Asian and Pacific nations, and it could erupt into war between the P.R.C. and Taiwan. Avoiding such an explosive breach of this relationship, and keeping the tensions it generates from overwhelming other U.S. vital interests in the region, is of critical importance to the United States.

This report—the result of an expert bipartisan task force including high-ranking military officers, business leaders, and foreign policy experts—considers a number of important trends that are shaping the Sino-American-Taiwan relationship, evaluates U.S. interests in this relationship, and arrives at a set of recommendations for the United States concerning how it should define its priorities and assert its interests with respect to this potentially volatile situation in the Taiwan Strait.

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Task Force Members Up

A. Doak Barnett

Daniel Burstein

Kurt M. Campbell

Peter M. Cleveland

Roger Cliff

Bruce J. Dickson

Elizabeth Economy

Karl Eikenberry

Harvey J. Feldman

Stephen Friedman

William H. Gleysteen, Jr.

Harry Harding

Miles Kahler

Herbert Levin

Kenneth Lieberthal

Emily MacFarquhar

Andrew Nathan

Morris W. Offit

Peter R. Rosenblatt

Jerrold L. Schechter

Daniel A. Sharp

James J. Shinn

Christopher J. Sigur

James R. Silkenat

James B. Sitrick

Jerry I. Speyer

Robert Sutter

Elizabeth (Lally) G. Weymouth

Clifton R. Wharton, Jr.

Donald S. Zagoria

Philip D. Zelikow

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