Six Assurances

The Six Assurances are six key foreign policy principles of the United States regarding United States–Taiwan relations. They were passed as unilateral U.S. clarifications to the Third Communiqué between the United States and the People's Republic of China in 1982. They were intended to reassure both Taiwan and the United States Congress that the US would continue to support Taiwan even if it had earlier cut formal diplomatic relations.

The assurances were originally proposed by the then Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) government of the Republic of China on Taiwan during negotiations between the U.S. and the People's Republic of China. The U.S. Reagan administration agreed to assurances and informed the United States Congress of them in July 1982.

Today, the Six Assurances are part of semiformal guidelines used in conducting relations between the US and Taiwan. The assurances have been generally reaffirmed by successive U.S. administrations. Prior to 2016, they were purely informal, but in 2016, their formal content was adopted by the US House of Representatives in a non-binding resolution, upgrading their status to formal but not directly enforceable.

Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981
U.S. President Ronald Reagan


Seal of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives passed the following concurrent resolution on May 16, 2016, giving the first formal wording for the Six Assurances by more or less directly adopting how the former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs John H. Holdridge expressed them in 1982:[1]

  1. “* * * [W]e did not agree to set a date certain for ending arms sales to Taiwan”;[1]
  2. “* * * [W]e see no mediation role for the United States” between Taiwan and the PRC;[1]
  3. “* * *[N]or will we attempt to exert pressure on Taiwan to enter into negotiations with the PRC”;[1]
  4. “* * * [T]here has been no change in our longstanding position on the issue of sovereignty over Taiwan”;[1]
  5. “We have no plans to seek” revisions to the Taiwan Relations Act;[1] and
  6. The August 17 Communiqué, “should not be read to imply that we have agreed to engage in prior consultations with Beijing on arms sales to Taiwan”.[1]

The resolution has been received by the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

In the first version, which was introduced to Congress by Rep. Steve Chabot on October 28, 2015,[2] the Six Assurances were proposed to be:

  1. The United States would not set a date for termination of arms sales to Taiwan;[2]
  2. The United States would not alter the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act;[2]
  3. The United States would not consult with China in advance before making decisions about United States arms sales to Taiwan;[2]
  4. The United States would not mediate between Taiwan and China;[2]
  5. The United States would not alter its position about the sovereignty of Taiwan which was, that the question was one to be decided peacefully by the Chinese themselves, and would not pressure Taiwan to enter into negotiations with China;[2] and
  6. The United States would not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.[2]


The State Department has reaffirmed the Six Assurances repeatedly.[3]

On May 19, 2016, one day before Dr. Tsai Ing-wen assumed the Presidency of the Republic of China, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-chair of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, introduced a concurrent resolution reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the “Six Assurances” as cornerstones of United States–Taiwan relations.[4][5][6]

The 2016 Republican National Convention in the Republican Party Platform states "Our relations will continue to be based upon the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act, and we affirm the Six Assurances given to Taiwan in 1982 by President Reagan. We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island’s future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan. If China were to violate those principles, the United States, in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself... As a loyal friend of America, Taiwan has merited our strong support, including free trade agreement status, the timely sale of defensive arms including technology to build diesel submarines..."[7]

As of September 2018, the Donald Trump administration "has stated that the U.S.-Taiwan relationship is also 'guided' by [the] 'Six Assurances'".[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "H.Con.Res.88 - Reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances as cornerstones of United States-Taiwan relations". May 16, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "H.Con.Res.88 - Reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances as the cornerstone of United States-Taiwan relations". October 28, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  3. ^ U.S.-Taiwan Relations, U.S. Department of State, February 14, 2003
  4. ^ Menendez, Rubio: "Six Assurances" Continued Foundation of U.S.-Taiwan Relations, Senator Bob Menendez, May 19, 2016
  5. ^ Rubio, Menendez: ‘Six Assurances’ Continued Foundation Of U.S.-Taiwan Relations, Senator Marco Rubio, May 19, 2016
  6. ^ S.Con.Res.38 - A concurrent resolution reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances as cornerstones of United States-Taiwan relations.,, May 19, 2016
  7. ^ The 2016 Republican Party Platform, Republican National Committee, July 18, 2016
  8. ^ Taiwan: Select Political and Security Issues, Congressional Research Service, September 17, 2018

External links

2015 Xi–Chu meeting

On May 4, 2015, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping and Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu met in Beijing.

Anti-Black Box Curriculum Movement

The Anti-Black Box Curriculum Movement was a Taiwanese student protest, related to the Sunflower Student Movement, against certain proposed senior high school curriculum changes. "Black box" is a reference to the students' concerns about the opaqueness of the proposed change. On 23 July 2015, the protesters stormed the Ministry of Education.

The proposed changes to the high school history curriculum included the mention in textbooks of Japanese war crimes during their occupation of Taiwan and the acknowledgement of comfort women sex-slavery in Asia. Students also protested what they felt was too much straight regurgitation and Buxiban cramming in the educational system, as well as perceived corruption and mafia connections among politicians.

Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum

Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum, commonly known as the Kuomintang-Communist Party of China Forum, was originally proposed by the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China, jointly organized in order to promote cross-strait economic, trade, cultural exchanges dialogue and integration.

Cross-Strait Peace Forum

The Cross-Strait Peace Forum (Chinese: 兩岸和平論壇; pinyin: Liǎng'àn Hépíng Lùntán) is a forum between Mainland China and Taiwan to discuss the peaceful development of the cross-strait relations. The forum was firstly held on October 2013 and it acts as an important platform for non-political dialogue between the two sides.

Cross-Strait high-level talks

The Cross-Strait high-level talks are a series of meetings between

the president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), People's Republic of China and

the chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), Republic of China (Taiwan).The two semi-governmental organizations represent their respective governments to deal with the Cross-Strait relations. The first eight talks were called Chen–Chiang talks () or Chiang–Chen talks, named after the surnames of leaders: Chen Yunlin of ARATS and Chiang Pin-kung of SEF.

Hong Kong–Taiwan relations

Relations with Hong Kong and the Republic of China (Taiwan) are on a high level. Before 1842, both regions were part of the Qing dynasty.

Since 2010, the relationship between Hong Kong and the ROC is managed through the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council (ECCPC) and Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council (ECCC). Meanwhile, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong is the representative office of the Republic of China in Hong Kong.In addition, the relations with Hong Kong is also conducted by the Mainland Affairs Council, although not all regulations applicable to mainland China are automatically applied to those territories.

Kinmen Agreement

The Kinmen Agreement or Kinmen Accord (simplified Chinese: 金门协议; traditional Chinese: 金門協議; pinyin: Jīnmén Xiéyì) is an agreement between Red Cross Society of the Republic of China and Red Cross Society of China in Kinmen, Fujian Province, Republic of China. It is the first formal agreement reached by private organizations across the Taiwan Strait.

Lienchiang Cross-Strait Matters Forum

The Lienchiang Cross-Strait Matters Forum (simplified Chinese: 连江县两岸事务座谈会; traditional Chinese: 連江縣兩岸事務座談會; pinyin: Liánjiāng Xiàn Liǎng'àn Shìwù Zuòtán Huì) is a forum between Lienchiang County of the Republic of China (ROC) and Lianjiang County of the People's Republic of China (PRC) which started in 2019.

Mainland Affairs Council

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) is a cabinet-level administrative agency under the Executive Yuan of Taiwan. The MAC is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of policies between the Republic of China on Taiwan and the People's Republic of China which administers mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. The MAC's counterpart body in the PRC is the Taiwan Affairs Office. Both states officially claim each other's territory, however the Republic of China controls only Taiwan and surrounding islands, and therefore is usually known as "Taiwan", sometimes referred to as the "Free Area" of the Republic of China by the Constitution of the Republic of China. The People's Republic of China controls mainland China as well as Hong Kong, Macau, Hainan, and other islands and is therefore usually known simply as "China".

The Mainland Affairs Council is administered by a cabinet level Minister. The current Minister is Chen Ming-tong.

The council plays an important role in setting policy and development of relations with mainland China and advising the central government. The agency funds and indirectly administers the Straits Exchange Foundation which is the official intermediary with the PRC.

One Country on Each Side

One Country on Each Side (simplified Chinese: 一边一国; traditional Chinese: 一邊一國; pinyin: yī biān yī guó; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chi̍t Pêng Chi̍t Kok) is a concept originated the Democratic Progressive Party government led by Chen Shui-bian, the former President of the Republic of China (2000–2008), regarding the political status of Taiwan. It emphasised that the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (commonly known as "Taiwan") are two different countries, (namely "One China, one Taiwan"), as opposed to two separate political entities within the same country of "China". This is the position of the supporters of the Pan-Green coalition.

Republic of China on Taiwan

Republic of China on Taiwan is a political term as well as discourse regarding the present status of the Republic of China. It is proposed by former president of the Republic of China Lee Teng-hui, the first Taiwanese President. During his presidential tenure in 1995, Lee visited his alma mater Cornell University and mentioned this term for the first time when delivering an Olin Lecture.The term is one of several regarding the Republic of China, and is not exactly about Taiwanese independence. The term was later included in the Four-Stage Theory of the Republic of China as the third stage from 1988 to 2000 by President Lee's successor Chen Shui-bian.

Shanghai-Taipei City Forum

The Shanghai-Taipei City Forum (Chinese: 上海-台北城市论坛) or Taipei-Shanghai City Forum (Chinese: 台北-上海城市论坛) is an annual forum between the government and civilians of Shanghai and Taipei.

Straits Forum

The Straits Forum (Chinese: 海峡论坛; pinyin: Hǎixiá Lùntán) is an annual forum between Mainland China and Taiwan which started in 2009. It is the largest non-political platform which promotes grassroots interaction, economic and trade exchanges and cultural integration.

Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League

The Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (Chinese: 台湾民主自治同盟), also known by its Chinese abbreviation Taimeng, is one of the eight legally recognised political parties in the People's Republic of China that follow the direction of the Communist Party of China and are members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. It was formed in Hong Kong on November 1947 by members of the Taiwanese Communist Party who survived the February 28 Incident.

The Taiwan Democratic Self Government League has a membership of 3,000 people, most of whom are prominent people that are from Taiwan or are of Taiwanese heritage, but now reside on the mainland.

Taiwan Relations Act

The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA; Pub.L. 96–8, 93 Stat. 14, enacted April 10, 1979; H.R. 2479) is an act of the United States Congress. Since the recognition of the People's Republic of China, the Act has defined the officially substantial but non-diplomatic relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan.

Taiwan–United States relations

Taiwan–United States relations refers to international relations between Taiwan and the United States. The bilateral relationship between the two states is the subject of China–United States relations before the government led by the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) retreated to Taiwan and its neighboring islands as a result of the Chinese civil war.

After the United States normalized diplomatic relations with the Beijing government under the Communist Party of China in 1979, the Taiwan–United States relations became unofficial and informal. Until March 16, 2018 informal relations between the two states were governed by the United States Taiwan Relations Act, which allows the United States to have relations with the "people on Taiwan" and their government, whose name is not specified. U.S.–Taiwan relations were further informally grounded in the "Six Assurances" in response to the third communiqué on the establishment of US–PRC relations. Following the passage of the Taiwan Travel Act by the U.S. Congress on March 16th, 2018, relations between the United States and Taiwan have since maneuvered to an official and high-level basis.The official relations between the United States and the Qing dynasty began on June 16, 1844. The policy of deliberate ambiguity of US foreign policy to the ROC is important to stabilize cross-strait relations and to assist the Republic of China (ROC) from an invasion by the People's Republic of China (PRC) if possible, whereas a policy of strategic clarity on Taiwan would likely induce PRC opposition and challenges US legitimacy in East Asia or beyond.

Wang Daohan

Wang Daohan (Chinese: 汪道涵; pinyin: Wāng Dàohán), (27 March 1915 – 24 December 2005) was the former president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).

Wang–Koo summit

The Wang–Koo summit (汪辜會談/辜汪會談, in context of Chiu, 1993: "Koo-Wang Talks") was an attempt at a cross-strait meeting that took place in 1993 with some follow up meetings up to 1998 between Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) chairman Wang Daohan and Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) charman Koo Chen-fu.

Zhang Zhijun

Zhang Zhijun (Chinese: 张志军; pinyin: Zhāng Zhìjūn; born 1 February 1953) is a diplomat and politician of the People's Republic of China. From 17 March 2013 to 21 March 2018, he has served as the Minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. He is currently the President of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits since April 2018.


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