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This is apparently a big controversy, but I was under the impression that the US and Taiwan were allies - there's a lot of trade, certainly, I have many items that are "Made in Taiwan". Surely there must have been trade agreements, tariffs, etc., at minimum?

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  • It's the leaders of both countries that hasn't talked – Panda Dec 3 '16 at 21:25
  • We (the US) sell them military hardware. There is a US gov - TW gov connection in there somewhere. – acpilot Dec 3 '16 at 21:30
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    The next four years are going to be interesting, that said. As the president-elect is still just that, president-elect, he is allowed to call whomever he wants....I would hope. Next he should set up a meeting with the Dalai Lama, in Tibet. – NZKshatriya Dec 4 '16 at 6:45
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The United States and Taiwan do maintain unofficial relations since the US recognised PRC as China in 1979.

It's widely reported that Donald Trump's phone call with Tsai Ing-wen is the first known call between a President or President-elect of the US and the President of Taiwan since 1979. Government officials surely have communicated.

However, the fact is that we all know the call occurred, since Trump twittered it on Twitter and publicly acknowledged it. Had he not shared it, we might not have known that this had even occurred. So it might be that past Presidents just contacted the Taiwanese leader silently.


You are perfectly right that there are agreements between the US and Taiwan. Jimmy Carter signed into law the Taiwan Relations Act, which established unofficial relations. It opened the American Institute in Taiwan (acts as an embassy) to facilitate interaction.

In 2015, the Obama administration sold $1.83 billion of frigates to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act Affirmation and Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2014 passed by Congress.


The controversy created by Trump is that he publicly acknowledge that the President of Taiwan called him to congratulate him. The fact that China doesn't recognise Taiwan means that China doesn't mention the Taiwanese leader as President, so as not to imply it as a country. Rather, it refers to him as Leader of Taiwan, which reflects China's stance on Taiwan.

  • @Rathony somehow I knew someone would take issue with Recognize, but this does not seem to be an Americanism, so I have no idea why. Recognize is the correct spelling, with recognise as a possible British alternative. I don't see why anyone would push for the recognise spelling... – Dave Cousineau Dec 4 '16 at 7:02
  • @Sahuagin I didn't push for the recognise spelling. I just rolled your change back to the OP's original spelling. It is the OP's right, not yours to decide which spelling to use. I think it was discussed somewhere on Meta SE and take a look. – Rathony Dec 4 '16 at 7:08
  • @Rathony k thanks. I assumed that the more international version was more correct, which I think is how they do it on wiki. – Dave Cousineau Dec 4 '16 at 7:18
  • @Sahuagin You're welcome and thanks for understanding, apparently American English and British English use different spellings for many words and they can write whatever they want unless they are misspelled. I also use American English. :-) – Rathony Dec 4 '16 at 8:39
  • @Sahuagin Yup, thanks for editing and correcting the grammatical mistakes :) – Panda Dec 4 '16 at 14:22

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