The US Department of State's website updated its "U.S. Relations with Taiwan" fact sheet on May 5. The phrases "Taiwan is a part of China" and "The United States does not support Taiwan independence" were removed, while mentions of the Six Assurances and one China policy were added. Scholars say actual policies have not changed.
The U.S. Department of State's website updated its "U.S. Relations with Taiwan" fact sheet on May 5. The fact sheet describes Taiwan as a "leading democracy and a technological powerhouse" and a "key U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific." In the previous version, the fact sheet had a statement about the U.S. recognizing the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China and that there is one China and Taiwan is a part of China. There was also the statement "The United States does not support Taiwan independence." These phrases were deleted, and a new one was added. It said, "The United States has a longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances."
Joanne Ou, Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “They stress that the U.S.' relevant policies have not changed. We have also seen a renewed scrupulous abidance to the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances by the Biden administration since taking office. Its commitment to Taiwan is as solid as a rock.”
The U.S. stressed that it continues to abide by the one China policy, but the deletion of the phrase that it does not support Taiwan independence made people wonder if its policy towards Taiwan will change. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Chen Chien-jen said that although the wording was adjusted, the U.S. still adheres to the one China policy. Scholars believe the adjustments were made to conform to the Biden administration's statements about Taiwan.
Chen Chien-jen, Former Foreign Affairs Minister: “This action is actually in line with the U.S.' strategic policies. ”
Li Da-jung, Assoc. Prof., Grad. Inst. of Int'l Affairs & Strat. Studies, TKU: “The U.S. never included the Six Assurances when defining its Taiwan Strait policy in the past. Actually, the inclusion didn't start with Biden, it started with Trump. Biden just followed his predecessor.”
The U.S. celebrates "Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month" in May. U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Japan and South Korea at the end of May, and will also attend the Quad Leaders' Summit, where Taiwan is bound to be a topic of discussion. There is speculation that the adjusted wording on the Department of State's website shows an intent to strengthen the bilateral relationship.