Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Taiwan Relations Act at 40: An Enduring Framework for U.S.-Taiwan Relations
The Taiwan Relations Act at 40: An Enduring Framework for U.S.-Taiwan Relations

The Taiwan Relations Act at 40: An Enduring Framework for U.S.-Taiwan Relations

  • Date / Time:
  • March 27, 2019
  • 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Venue:
  • Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO)
  • 1 E 42nd St
  • New York. NY. US. 10017

For four decades, the Taiwan Relations Act has been a foundation of U.S. policy toward Taiwan and cross-Strait relations.  Adopted in the wake of the Washington’s decision to end diplomatic relations and a mutual defense pact with the Republic of China as part of the process of normalizing relations between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China, the TRA has enduringly set forth Washington’s commitment to robust if informal diplomatic relations with Taiwan and support for Taiwan’s security.  The TRA has been remarkably resilient, nearly immune from amendment, rarely supplemented by other lawmaking, and accepted at home and invoked abroad by U.S. presidents and administrations as a basis for, and a constraint on, U.S. foreign policy.  As a law passed by Congress and signed by the president, the TRA has stood apart from the other documents that frame the U.S.’s Taiwan policy, including the three U.S.-PRC Joint Communiqués and the Six Assurances. 

Why has the TRA proved so durable? How well has it served to shape, and manage, U.S.-Taiwan bilateral, and U.S.-Taiwan-PRC triangular relations? What challenges does a TRA-centered framework for U.S. policy face today and in the foreseeable future, amid:

  • new pressures from Beijing, including a policy of cold peace or cold confrontation toward the Tsai Ing-wen administration in Taiwan and mounting pressure from Xi Jinping’s China for international acquiescence in Beijing’s agenda for unification and view of Taiwan’s international status;
  • recent events in Washington, including the instability of policy toward Taiwan during the transition to, and early phase of, the Trump administration, and Congress’s passage of laws, such as the Taiwan Travel Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, that call for upgrading of U.S.-Taiwan relations; and
  • developments in Taiwan’s politics, including the run-up to the 2020 presidential and legislative elections?



Jerome Cohen: Professor of Law, NYU School of Law, and Senior Fellow for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

June Teufel Dreyer: Professor of Political Science, University of Miami, and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute

Shelley Rigger: Brown Professor of East Asian Politics, Davidson College, and Senior Fellow for the Asia Program, Foreign Policy Research Institute 

Jacques deLisle: Director, Asia Program, Foreign Policy Research Institute, and Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Russell Hsiao: Executive Director, Global Taiwan Institute and Penn Kemble Fellow, National Endowment for Democracy, and Adjunct Fellow, Pacific Forum


This event is free and open to the public.

Registration recommended, but walk-ins are also welcome.