The Struggle for Taiwan: A History of America, China, and the Island Caught Between

Basic. May 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781541605046. $30. HIST
Khan (history and international relations, Tufts Univ.; Haunted by Chaos: Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping) offers a thorough history of the China-Taiwan conflict and the United States’ role in it. His book spans from 1943, when the Cairo Declaration first mentioned Taiwan being returned to the Republic of China (ROC) from Japan, up through the present day. In 1949, Mao Zedong’s Communist forces defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s ROC and established the People’s Republic of China. Chiang and the remnants of the ROC retreated to the island of Taiwan. In the 1950s, the U.S. made the decision to prevent Mao from taking Taiwan and thus placed Taiwan under American protection. Since then, there has been a complex push and pull, in which successive U.S. administrations try to forge a good relationship with China without abandoning commitments made to Taiwan. This has ultimately resulted in a complicated U.S. position in which it no longer officially recognizes the ROC government in Taiwan but is also obligated by the Taiwan Relations Act to provide it with defensive weapons.
VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone interested in China-Taiwan-U.S. relations.
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