Questioning one China
The Bush administration has backed away from China's position on Taiwan by declaring in a diplomatic note to the United Nations that the issue of Taiwan's sovereignty remains unsettled and effectively stating that the island is not under Chinese sovereignty, as Beijing insists.
A copy of the diplomatic note, from August, was obtained by the Heritage Foundation, and its disclosure is likely to upset China's government, which regards U.S. support for Taiwan as the most sensitive issue in U.S.-China relations.
Administration diplomats and other U.S. officials who engage China are under constant pressure from Beijing to adhere to the so-called "one China policy" that in China's view implies formal U.S. recognition that democratic Taiwan is in reality under the sovereignty of communist China, like former colonies Hong Kong and Macao.
The State Department, however, quietly challenged that policy in the summer of 2007 when it privately notified senior United Nations officials that "If the U.N. Secretariat insists on describing Taiwan as a part of the [Peoples Republic of China], or on using nomenclature for Taiwan that implies such status, the United States will be obliged to disassociate itself on a national basis from such position."