Honors College Theses

Publication Date



History (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Doctor Mao Lin


The goal of this thesis is to examine the unique historical context surrounding the enactment of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act in order to demonstrate how congressional unilateralism, a core component of enacting the TRA, led the United States to strengthen a policy of strategic ambiguity toward Taiwan and China. As a result of its enactment, the TRA has been criticized by the mainland Chinese government as an example of foreign policy that is contrary to the traditional values promoted by the United States. This study examines the creation of the TRA through government documents, legislation, and speeches and aims to answer the following questions: how has the United States navigated its relations with the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China following the passage of the TRA, and what are its implications are for setting US foreign policy.