SemesterFall Semester, 2023
DepartmentInternational Doctor Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, First Year International Doctor Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, Second Year
Course NameUS-Taiwan Relations
Course TypeElective
Course Objective
Course Description
Course Schedule

Schedule and readings


  1. September 15: Orientation and introductions


  1. September 22: The American role in Taiwan’s transformation from Japanese colony to the Republic of China

George H. Kerr, Formosa Betrayed (1965).

Lin Hsiao-ting, “The Accidental State: The Making of Taiwan,” Hoover Digest (Summer 2016). 


September 29 NO CLASS: Mid-Autumn Festival 


  1. October 6: The short-lived removal of Taiwan from the American defense perimeter in Asia

Russell D. Buhite, “‘Major Interests’: American Policy toward China, Taiwan, and Korea, 1945-1950,” Pacific Historical Review, 47 (1978), pp. 425-451. 

Dean Acheson, “Speech on the Far East (excerpts),” National Press Club, January 12, 1950. 

Shannon Tiezzi, “How Eisenhower Saved Taiwan,” The Diplomat, July 29, 2015.


  1. October 13: The unsuccessful American struggle to obtain China's renunciation of force against Taiwan  

Leonard H. D. Gordon, “United States Opposition to Use of Force in the Taiwan Strait, 1954-1962,” Journal of American History (1985), pp. 637-660.

Kenneth T. Young, “Impasse over the Renunciation of Force and over Taiwan,” in

 Negotiating With the Chinese Communists: The United States Experience, 1953-1967, ch. 4.


  1. October 20: One China or two?  

Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, “John Foster Dulles and the Taiwan Roots of the Two China Policy,” in Richard H. Immerman (ed.), John Foster Dulles and the Diplomacy of the Cold War (1990), ch. 9. 

Richard Bush, “The Status of the ROC and Taiwan,1950-1972,” in At Cross Purposes: U.S.-Taiwan Relations Since 1942 (2004), ch. 4,


  1. October 27: Why and how the US prevented Taiwan from acquiring a nuclear deterrent

Taiwan’s Bomb,” National Security Archive Briefing Book, January 10, 2019

David Albright and Andrea Stricker, Taiwan’s Former Nuclear Weapons Program: Nuclear Weapons on Demand (2018).


  1. November 3: From two Chinas back to one: The normalization of U.S.-China relations; Did Congress save Taiwan?  

Richard C. Bush, “A One-China Policy Primer,” Brookings Institution, December 13, 2016. 

Declassified Memorandum of Conversation among Nixon, Chou En-lai, Kissinger, and others in William Burr, “Nixon’s Trip to China,” National Security Archive Briefing Book, December 11, 2003. 

Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, “Taiwan Expendable? Nixon and Kissinger Go to China,” Journal of American History, 92 (2005), pp. 109-135. 

U.S.-PRC JOINT COMMUNIQUE (1972) (Shanghai Communique) 

U.S.-PRC JOINT COMMUNIQUE (1979) (Normalization Communique) 

Taiwan Relations Act


  1. November 10: The Reagan Administration’s response to China’s demands for limits on arms sales to Taiwan [Midterm week] 


The Six Assurances and the “Reagan Codicil”

Lawrence Eagleburger, “Declassified cables: Taiwan arms sales,” American Institute in Taiwan, July 10, 1982. 

Harvey Feldman, “President Reagan's Six Assurances to Taiwan and Their Meaning Today,” The Heritage Foundation, October 2, 2007. 

Alan Romberg, Rein in at the Brink of the Precipice: American Policy Toward Taiwan and U.S.-PRC Relations (2003).


  1. November 17: The Clinton Administration’s Taiwan Policy Review 

Lord, Winston, “Taiwan Policy Review,” Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC, September 27, 1994.


  1. November 24: America’s policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan 

Goldstein, Steven. “In Defense of Strategic Ambiguity in the Taiwan Strait,” The National Bureau of Asian Research, October 15, 2021. 


  1. December 1: China’s Taiwan policy: From carrots to sticks  

Huang Jing and Li Xiaoting, Inseparable Separation: The Making of China’s Taiwan Policy (2010), Introduction.

Chen-yuan Tung, “Assessment of China’s Taiwan Policy under the Third Generation Leadership,” Asian Survey, 45 ((2005), pp. 344-61. 

Xin Qiang, “Selective Engagement: Mainland China’s Dual-Track Taiwan

Policy,” Contemporary China, 29 (2020), pp. 535–552. 

Wei-chin Lee, “Multiple Shades of China’s Taiwan Policy after the 19th Party Congress,” Journal of Asian and African Studies, 55 (2020), pp. 201-20. 


Gerald Chan, “The "Two-Chinas" Problem and the Olympic Formula,” Pacific Affairs 58, no. 3 (1985), pp. 473-490. 


  1. December 8: U.S.-China relations from cooperation to rivalry and US Taiwan policy from strategic ambiguity to strategic clarity   

Harry Harding, “What Went Wrong? The United States and China from Partners to Competitors,” written for the Carter Center’s symposium to commemorate President Carter’s 1979 decision to normalize relations with China, January 2019.

Raymond Kuo, “‘Strategic Ambiguity’ Has the U.S. and Taiwan Trapped,” Foreign Policy, January 18, 2023. 


  1. December 15: Can China be deterred? Does Taiwan enjoy a silicon shield?  

Chris Miller, Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology (2022).

John Liu and Paul Mozur, “TSMC Chairman Mark Liu Says Company Will Keep Its Roots in Taiwan,” The New York Times, August 4, 2023. 


  1. December 22: Can Taiwan be successfully defended? What would a war in the Taiwan Strait look like?

Ian Easton, The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia (2017). 

Tanner Greer, “Why I Fear for Taiwan,” The Scholar's Stage, September 11, 2020.


  1. December 29: Should the US defend Taiwan and can Taiwan trust it to do so?

John Mearsheimer, “Say Good-Bye to Taiwan,” The National Interest, February 25, 2014.

Choi Hyun-june, “Growing Skepticism in Taiwan — Not about China, but the US,” The Hankyoreh, Aril 20, 2023.  

Aaron Tu and Jonathan Chin, “Poll Shows 55% of Taiwanese Expect US Help if Attacked,” Taipei Times, April 28, 2023.


  1. January 5: Presentation of student term papers


  1. January 12: Conclusion: Change and continuity in Taiwan’s role in the US China relationship  

Harry Harding, “Change and Continuity in America’s Taiwan Policy,” in Mariah Thornton, Robert Ash, and Dafydd Fell (eds.) Taiwan's Economic and Diplomatic Challenges and Opportunities (2021), ch. 9.

Teaching Methods
Teaching Assistant

Students will be expected to identify the topics and readings to be discussed in each class session, to participate in those discussions, and then to present a term paper.

Textbook & Reference
Urls about Course