US adopted a 2-China policy

What exactly forced the US to abide by the 1-China policy? As the Cold War neared its end, the US was the undisputed world superpower and the PRC was still far from even hoping to challenge US in any way. For decades the US has had to play this game of not angering the PRC while still interacting with the ROC. Every statement US officials do on this topic has to be vague to not hurt the feelings of the CCP.

What prevented the US (specially after 1992) from stopping that childish game and just stating the reality: "there are 2 nations who call themselves China, and we'll recognize both". Even in the very unlikely scenario that the PRC launches an invasion of Taiwan, they had 0 chances against the USN (at least up until very recently, maybe).

How could this policy be achieved and what possible effects would it have in the 2 Chinas and the world?
 
Nothing forced America to do it. But it was the product of early Sino-US rapprochement.

Remember that in ~1975 when this relationship was just getting started, China was basically the way we see North Korea today. The US really wanted to get the PRC on board to counter the Soviet Union and also thought that economic engagement could help China liberalize politically. There was a lot of wishful thinking there that has really come back to bite us, but as far as geopolitical strategy (and later, corporate profits) went, it made sense to do what was needed to coax the PRC out of its Cultural Revolution madness. Not antagonizing them over Taiwan was part of that.

Another thing is that Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT didn't accept the idea of "two Chinas" either. Unlike now where the Taiwanese independence faction is dominant, the ROC leaders at the time really saw reunification with the mainland (on their terms) as the ultimate goal. There was an option to give the ROC its own UN seat and call it "Republic of China (Taiwan)" but the KMT rejected this as it would acknowledge the legitimacy of the communist bandits.
 
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Basically OTL North Korea and South Korea. I wonder if the U.S. will continue to place bases in Taiwan in case of an invasion just like the USFK. If I read correct, the U.S. military presence in Taiwan was withdrawn in 1980 following the establishment of official relations with the PRC. It was only in 2021 when the U.S. announced there were 100 U.S. Special Forces operators in Taiwan since 2020.
 
I agree that the biggest hurdle was probably the KMT themselves. But with that in mind I also think it wasn't impossible for things to turn out differently. If the KMT realizes or can be convinced of the need to cut it's losses then Nixon getting the PRC to accept Taiwanese independence in return for getting diplomatic recognition as the legitimate gouvernment of the mainland and a permanent seat in the UN Security Council probably wasn't impossible. Back then the PRCs position wasn't exactly sterling and a permanent seat in the UN Security Council isn't exactly a small thing.
 
Nothing forced America to do it. But it was the product of early Sino-US rapprochement.

Remember that in ~1975 when this relationship was just getting started, China was basically the way we see North Korea today. The US really wanted to get the PRC on board to counter the Soviet Union and also thought that economic engagement could help China liberalize politically. There was a lot of wishful thinking there that has really come back to bite us, but as far as geopolitical strategy (and later, corporate profits) went, it made sense to do what was needed to coax the PRC out of its Cultural Revolution madness. Not antagonizing them over Taiwan was part of that.

Another thing is that Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT didn't accept the idea of "two Chinas" either. Unlike now where the Taiwanese independence faction is dominant, the ROC leaders at the time really saw reunification with the mainland (on their terms) as the ultimate goal. There was an option to give the ROC its own UN seat and call it "Republic of China (Taiwan)" but the KMT rejected this as it would acknowledge the legitimacy of the communist bandits.
Not to mention, the U.S. needed China to establish SIGINT outposts to spy on Soviet nuclear sites in Central Asia.

The New York Times dated June 16, 1981:

Along the same lines, they state that in 1981 the US government provided China with spying equipment for the surveillance of Soviet missiles and radio communication which was positioned along the border in Xinjiang.

Sixty Years of China Foreign Affairs, p. 147
(4) Intelligence cooperation. Sino-US cooperation in the field of military intelligence was first carried out in military diplomacy. In 1980, the United States established two electronic stations tracking the Soviet missile test in Xinjiang. From 1984 to 1987, China and the US strengthened cooperation in intelligence sharing, constructing some new monitoring stations.

It should be noted that the normalization of of Sino-US relations was based on common strategic interests against the Soviet hegemony, and, with an enormous difference in the overall strength and ideology, the strategic foundation of bilateral cooperation was very fragile. Thus, as the US imposed sanctions against China in 1989, military cooperation was first to be affected.

The New York Times dated April 4, 1987 (sadly hidden behind a paywall):

Washington Post dated June 25, 1989. Take note this article was published just two weeks after the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Lastly, here are two articles regarding Project Chestnut that were published earlier this year in February. This was part of the 50th anniversary of the Nixon visit to China.
 
As has been pointed out, at the time of negotiations a two China policy is not really plausible. PRC claims sole and legitimate sovereignty over China. ROC claims sole and legitimate sovereignty over China. The Taiwanese independence movement was not yet evolved. So the proposal just pisses off both parties and leads to nothing at the end of the day
 
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But for example, did West & East Germany not regard themselves as the true Germany even if they are temporary split? Could some ROC twin temporary seat fudge in GA at the point when the P5 SC seat is given to PRC in UN not end up as a full on independence 2 China policy later, very easily and then become very permanent?
 
Could some ROC twin temporary seat fudge in GA at the point when the P5 SC seat is given to PRC in UN not end up as a full on independence 2 China policy later, very easily and then become very permanent?
Not sure about you, but "degrading" from a seat within the Permanent member of UNSC to a seat within General Assembly sounds like an insult against RoC. It's even worse than the OTL (where Taiwan is pretty much "boot" from the UN in the legal manner)
 
Not sure about you, but "degrading" from a seat within the Permanent member of UNSC to a seat within General Assembly sounds like an insult against RoC. It's even worse than the OTL (where Taiwan is pretty much "boot" from the UN in the legal manner)
Im not sure how it would be worse than OTL for Taiwan? It would be degrading compared to being a P5 UNSC, but they would at least get something and 3rd parties could then legitimately recognize both Chinas as soon as they had a seat in GA, so they would be able to keep embassies in lots of nations they lost OTL and even some they had already lost could be reopened with time?

Really, Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT utterly failed diplomatically and lost everything when US abandoned them to support giving PRC the UN seat, plenty of other nations proposed compromises that would have given ROC/Taiwan more than they got at the end and if they had managed to get any of them accepted they might have lasted and become defacto permanent?
 
Nothing forced America to do it. But it was the product of early Sino-US rapprochement.

Remember that in ~1975 when this relationship was just getting started, China was basically the way we see North Korea today. The US really wanted to get the PRC on board to counter the Soviet Union and also thought that economic engagement could help China liberalize politically. There was a lot of wishful thinking there that has really come back to bite us, but as far as geopolitical strategy (and later, corporate profits) went, it made sense to do what was needed to coax the PRC out of its Cultural Revolution madness. Not antagonizing them over Taiwan was part of that.

Another thing is that Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT didn't accept the idea of "two Chinas" either. Unlike now where the Taiwanese independence faction is dominant, the ROC leaders at the time really saw reunification with the mainland (on their terms) as the ultimate goal. There was an option to give the ROC its own UN seat and call it "Republic of China (Taiwan)" but the KMT rejected this as it would acknowledge the legitimacy of the communist bandits.

As has been pointed out, at the time of negotiations a two China policy is not really plausible. PRC claims sole and legitimate sovereignty over China. ROC claims sole and legitimate sovereignty over China. The Taiwanese independence movement was not yet evolved. So the proposal just pisses off both parties and leads to nothing at the end of the day
Chiang Kai-shek actually was open to declaring Taiwanese independence when the Republic of China lost its UN Security Council seat but would only have done so if the United States had promised support.
 
Of course, even during the 1970s, a good portion of Americans, especially conservatives, still thought the ROC was the one and only true China and that ol' Chiang was still a great guy. Much of this dated back to the goodwill from the 1940s when we still supported the ROC during the Second World War and then the Cold War.
 

Anderman

Donor
But for example, did West & East Germany not regard themselves as the true Germany even if they are temporary split? Could some ROC twin temporary seat fudge in GA at the point when the P5 SC seat is given to PRC in UN not end up as a full on independence 2 China policy later, very easily and then become very permanent?

West Germany had a similar policy towards East Germany as China at least to 1970


And the rulers of East Germany was themself as a different Germany so that they didn´t want to take any responsebilities for the Holocoust. They paiyed some but much later.
 
Chiang Kai-shek actually was open to declaring Taiwanese independence when the Republic of China lost its UN Security Council seat but would only have done so if the United States had promised support.
Of course, even during the 1970s, a good portion of Americans, especially conservatives, still thought the ROC was the one and only true China and that ol' Chiang was still a great guy. Much of this dated back to the goodwill from the 1940s when we still supported the ROC during the Second World War and then the Cold War.
Could some US conservatives in congress and a more diplomatically aware Chiang Kai-shek get together and agree to make Nixon give ROC a seat at UN GA?

If they did under some wording that was supposed to be temporary, just like the two Germanies then it could last a long time?
 
Im not sure how it would be worse than OTL for Taiwan? It would be degrading compared to being a P5 UNSC, but they would at least get something and 3rd parties could then legitimately recognize both Chinas as soon as they had a seat in GA, so they would be able to keep embassies in lots of nations they lost OTL and even some they had already lost could be reopened with time?

Really, Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT utterly failed diplomatically and lost everything when US abandoned them to support giving PRC the UN seat, plenty of other nations proposed compromises that would have given ROC/Taiwan more than they got at the end and if they had managed to get any of them accepted they might have lasted and become defacto permanent?
At least from Chiang Kai-shek's and maybe the KMT hardliners' perspective, the current diplomatic situation is actually favorable as compared with Taiwan gaining de jure independence. Remember that the KMT is the Chinese Nationalist Party, they don't want to end up being a Republic of Taiwan (which is what would happen in an East/West Germany or North/South Korea situation simply due to the vast disparity in size between the ROC and PRC). Their ultimate goal is to reunify with the mainland and maintain some political influence, if they cant overthrow the CCP. It's arguable that they are actually an irredeemably corrupt fifth column for Beijing by now — at the very least, I think their conciliatory position on the PRC is pathetic and defeatist — but that is besides the point. Chiang would probably be livid if he could see the political situation in Taiwan today, but its diplomatic status wouldn't be his biggest concern by a long shot.
 
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Im not sure how it would be worse than OTL for Taiwan? It would be degrading compared to being a P5 UNSC, but they would at least get something and 3rd parties could then legitimately recognize both Chinas as soon as they had a seat in GA, so they would be able to keep embassies in lots of nations they lost OTL and even some they had already lost could be reopened with time?
Physically, it is better than OTL - they still have a presence in the UN.

But morally? Spiritually? The "Sinosphere" culture (of which Taiwan/RoC is a part of) will deem it as a grave insult.
 
What prevented the US (specially after 1992) from stopping that childish game and just stating the reality: "there are 2 nations who call themselves China, and we'll recognize both". Even in the very unlikely scenario that the PRC launches an invasion of Taiwan, they had 0 chances against the USN (at least up until very recently, maybe).

How could this policy be achieved and what possible effects would it have in the 2 Chinas and the world?
You'd need an earlier POD where the ROC holds even a small sliver of Mainland territory beyond just a small handful of islands off the coast of Fujian. Even if it's the irony of ironies where it contains portions of South China that had early economic success (i.e. at bare minimum parts of Fujian near Xiamen and a good-sized portion of Guangdong). That would strengthen the GMD's hand at convincing people that it's the "real China".
 
What exactly forced the US to abide by the 1-China policy? As the Cold War neared its end, the US was the undisputed world superpower and the PRC was still far from even hoping to challenge US in any way. For decades the US has had to play this game of not angering the PRC while still interacting with the ROC. Every statement US officials do on this topic has to be vague to not hurt the feelings of the CCP.

What prevented the US (specially after 1992) from stopping that childish game and just stating the reality: "there are 2 nations who call themselves China, and we'll recognize both". Even in the very unlikely scenario that the PRC launches an invasion of Taiwan, they had 0 chances against the USN (at least up until very recently, maybe).

How could this policy be achieved and what possible effects would it have in the 2 Chinas and the world?
You'd need an earlier Taiwanese independence movement and a government on the Chinese mainland that accepts Taiwanese separatism as long as they don't claim to be the "real China". The problem is, the CPC saw Chinese separatism as a relict of the colonial time and the KMT agrees on this point that a unified China is a necessity (to this day the KMT is one of the most pro-Chinese party in Taiwan).
 
Could we have America backtrack from the one-China PRC policy to a two-China's PRC and ROC policy in the aftermath of Tiananmen, if there was a different successor to Ronald Reagan besides the fairly PRC-immersed George H.W. Bush?

In place of George Herbert Walker Bush, who could have been a viable alternate VP for Reagan in 1980, and thus default successor in 1988?

Paul Laxalt was Reagan's best friend and considered for the VP slot historically. However, as the similarly conservative Governor of neighboring Nevada, he wouldn't have brought much to the ticket ideologically or geographically.

If Reagan wanted a more stridently conservative running mate than Bush and was willing to overlook his friendship with Laxalt for the sake of geographic advantages, I'd imagine Phil Crane would be a natural choice. He was a conservative Midwestern Congressman representing Chicago's suburbs, and had already supported Reagan's unsuccessful 1976 run.

I am wondering here if Laxalt or another longstanding conservative with less foreign policy experience like Bush (former Director of CIA and 2nd Chief of the Liaison Office (unofficial Ambassador) to the PRC)) would still have enough 'old right' sentiment in 1989 to have their anti-PRC, and pro-Taiwan feelings rekindled by the simultaneity of Tiananmen, Taiwan's liberalization, and reduced strategic need for the PRC with the easing of USSR-PRC and USSR-USA tensions?

Possibly leading to the punishment of the post-Tiananmen, isolated PRC with a turn to an American "Two Chinas" policy.
Maybe "old right" sentiment would lead to skepticism about Red China fundamentally changing its spots as a guarantee too. Not sure it was guaranteed. There was still some skepticism even of Gorby in Cold Warrior circles at this time.

Also, although George H.W. Bush won the nomination in 1988, and had the advantage all along, (Republicans generally "falling in line" while Democrats have to "fall in love") his nomination was contested. How would one of his challengers, like Bob Dole, or an even longer shot like Jack Kemp or Pat Robertson have prevailed?
 
If i were Bush Senior I would have selected Kemp, or anyone but misspelling Quayle? Pat Robertson could have been brought off with greater support for Mobutu, Charles Taylor or UNITA.
 
If i were Bush Senior I would have selected Kemp, or anyone but misspelling Quayle? Pat Robertson could have been brought off with greater support for Mobutu, Charles Taylor or UNITA.
Why would you consider giving anything to Robertson? He wasn't a real threat in the primaries and any compromise with Robertson would be unpopular with the general voter.
 
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