Chinese officials also asked in advance of the summit that Biden make a public statement after the meeting saying that the U.S. supports China’s goal of peaceful unification with Taiwan and does not support Taiwanese independence, they said. The White House rejected the Chinese request.


Did the U.S. make any public statement that it support China's goal of peaceful unification with Taiwan? I know the U.S. always had a position of strategic ambiguity telling vaguely what the Chinese want to hear while not quite saying what they seem to be saying, but I am wondering if they ever said this publicly. If not, what is the closest thing they said to this publicly?

1 Answer 1


The US position acknowledges the PRC as the "sole legal Government of China".

the U.S. government “acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and Taiwan is a part of China,” and “does not challenge that position.” The U.S. side also “reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves,” (These quotes are from the various communiques issued in the 1970s, and quoted in a Congressional Report). The government continues cultural, commercial and informal relations with the people of Taiwan.

Moreover in 1982 The U.S. government also declared “no intention” of “pursuing a policy of ‘two Chinas,’” meaning the PRC and the ROC, “or ‘one China, one Taiwan.’”

The essence of this is "If you're happy to let us go on trading with Taiwan, and don't try to invade, we'll happily pretend that the government of Taiwan doesn't exist." But don't try to put words into our mouths. The text in the various communique has been carefully drafted, and we aren't going to deviate from it. That is, the US "acknowledges" the PRC as the sole government, and "acknowledges" the goal of peaceful unification. But does not support that goal.

So the wording in the Chinese statement would be unacceptable.

  • At least from the quotes you gave, it appears that part of the intention behind the careful drafting of those statements is to leave it ambiguous which of the two governments of China and Taiwan is the one that the US considers the legitimate government that should rule over the unified whole. Do you have a quote that explicitly breaks that ambiguity?
    – Douglas
    Commented Dec 23, 2023 at 9:25
  • 1
    No, because this is the fundamental ambiguity that the US preserves. It acknowledges that the PRC does rule over the mainland of China. It would prefer a government in China that is more pro-USA, and if that is a democratic and capitalist government then then all the better. It likes the RoC government (that is those things) but acknowledges that the RoC is not the government of China at the moment. The US would be quite happy for the PRC to abandon communism and single-party rule, and merge with the RoC on that basis.
    – James K
    Commented Dec 23, 2023 at 11:47

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