US Does Not Take a Position on Taiwan’s Sovereignty, State Department Says

The United States does not take a position on Taiwan’s sovereignty under Washington’s “One China” policy, the State Department said Monday.

The remarks came days after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New York on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly where Blinken told Wang Washington’s “One China” policy has not changed.

While Washington has not agreed to take any position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan, Monday’s statement from the State Department is a rare public comment.

“We don’t take a position on sovereignty, but the policy that has been at the crux of our approach to Taiwan since 1979 remains in effect today,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price during Monday’s briefing. He was asked if Taiwan is part of China under Washington’s “One China” policy.

“What we want to see preserved is the status quo, precisely because the status quo since 1979, more than 40 years now, has undergirded peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We want to see that continue. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the same could be said of the PRC, which has become only more coercive and intimidating in its actions and its maneuvers across the Taiwan Strait,” said Price.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims sovereignty over Taiwan. The U.S. “acknowledges” but does not “endorse” PRC’s position.

“Both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one & the same China. Taiwan is part of China’s territory. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has never been split. This is the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and one China is at the heart of this status quo,” a spokesperson from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in a tweet.

For decades, the U.S. has been clear that its decision to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC in 1979 rested on the expectation that “the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means,” as stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act.

The U.S. also does not support Taiwan independence.

Senior American officials have said Washington’s “One China” policy is “distinct” from Beijing’s “One China” principle.

The U.S. said it remains committed to its long-standing, bipartisan “One China” policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances.

Chinese officials have rejected the Taiwan Relations Act, calling the U.S. law governing its relations with Taiwan “illegal and invalid.”

On August 31, 2020, then-Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell told an audience at a Washington think tank that “the United States has not agreed to take any position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan” and it is important to review history because “Beijing has a habit of distorting it.”