Expert: Taiwan Relations Act lacks legal foundation
Updated 21:24, 09-Aug-2022
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 21, 2022. /AP

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 21, 2022. /AP

During U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan last week, she repeatedly made reference to the Taiwan Relations Act, which has served as the basis for the U.S. to send weapons and military equipment to China's Taiwan region.

Since it was passed in the U.S. Congress in 1979, the act has been criticized by both China and the international community for its incoherence with the one-China policy and the content in the three China-U.S. joint communiques, to which the U.S. has repeatedly promised to adhere for decades. The most recent time was last Friday, when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed America's commitment to the one-China policy and said that the country doesn't support "Taiwan independence."

However, recent U.S. military actions in the South China Sea have shown a will of its own. American warships, which have been active in the region, will continue to make Taiwan Straits transits and perform the so-called freedom of navigation operations, said Colin Kahl, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy on Monday.

USS Ronald Reagan and the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli have been in the area since Pelosi's highly controversial visit to Taiwan that has significantly escalated tensions between China and the U.S. Both ships are currently in the Philippine Sea as of Monday, according to USNI News' Fleet Tracker.

Taiwan Relations Act

The Taiwan Relations Act has no legal basis and is in gross violation of the three joint communiques and the basic principles of international law, according to experts.

In an interview with Kan Taihai, a new media platform, Zhang Tengjun of the China Institute of International Affairs noted that the so-called Taiwan Relations Act is full of legal problems.

According to Zhang, it represents a serious violation of the China-U.S. three joint communiques signed by the two countries between 1972 and 1982, which has served as the basis for bilateral relations and the only recognized document by both countries in regard to the Taiwan question.

He said the Taiwan Relations Act also tramples the basic principles of the UN constitution, which forbids external interference in a nation's domestic affairs. Through the Act, the U.S. has tried to set roadblocks for China's reunification and provide assistance to "Taiwan independence" forces.

The U.S. also tries to override international law and obligations with its domestic laws. This goes against the norms of international relations, Zhang said. 

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