Taiwan is the most sensitive issue in the U.S.-China relationship. Despite recent improvements in tone and tenor of relations between Taipei and Beijing, Taiwan still remains an issue that could trigger greater tension and perhaps open armed confrontation between China and the United States. To Beijing, the island of Taiwan is the last piece of Chinese territory not reintegrated back into the nation after more than a century of struggle. But to the United States a thriving democratic Taiwan is linked to U.S. regional credibility and our democratic values.
Maintaining the now standard set of diplomatic assurances that offer a common language for Beijing and Washington and Taipei is an important starting point for any efforts to address cross-Strait issues. The United States should encourage Beijing and Taipei to continue building commercial, cultural, economic, and other ties to enhance confidence and trust in their interactions. We should also rebuild a relationship of trust with Taiwan and respond in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act to appropriate Taiwanese requests to meet their defensive needs.
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