One-China policy

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The One-China policy (simplified Chinese: 一个中国; traditional Chinese: 一個中國 政策 ; pinyin: yī gè Zhōngguó) refers to the policy or view that there is only one state called "China", despite the existence of two governments that claim to be "China". As codified in the 1992 Consensus, the One-China policy has been the held by both the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, known also as "Taiwan"); they agree that there is only one sovereign state encompassing both mainland China and Taiwan, but disagree about which of the two is legitimate.

As a policy, this means that countries seeking diplomatic relations with the PRC must break official relations with the ROC, and vice versa. Hence, all the countries recognizing the ROC recognize it as the sole legitimate representative of all of China, and not just the island of Taiwan and other islands which it controls.[1] Similarly, all states that recognise the PRC either recognise the PRC as the legitimate representative of Taiwan or acknowledge the PRC's views on the matter—the latter is the position adopted by the United States, which prefers to leave that question ambiguous.[2] The One China policy is also different from the One China principle (一中原則), which is the PRC's position that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.[3]

The One-China principle faces opposition from the movement for Taiwan independence, which pushes to cultivate a separate identity from China; a movement called Taiwanization. Taiwanization's influence on the government of the ROC has caused instability: after the Communist Party of China expelled the ROC in the Chinese Civil War from most of Chinese territory in 1949 and founded the PRC, the ROC's Chinese Nationalist government, which still held Taiwan, continued to claim legitimacy as the government of all of China. Under former President Lee Teng-hui, the ROC constitution was amended so that it applied effectively only to the Taiwan Area in 1991.[4] However, current Nationalist ROC President Ma Ying-jeou has re-asserted claims on the PRC's territories as recently as October 8, 2008.[5]

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