The One-China Policy: State, Sovereignty, and Taiwan’s International Legal Status


For centuries, Taiwan has been ungently knocked around by a series of geopolitical punches. The island has been variously ruled by the Dutch, the Spanish, the Kingdom of Tungning, the Qing Dynasty, Japan, and China. In 1945, after Japan’s surrender during World War II, Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Republic of China, was assigned to administer the affairs of the island. Four years later, Taiwan would become the area ROC officials fled to following their defeat in the Chinese Civil War by the Communist Party of China. Since that time, the political and legal status of Taiwan has remained an open question.

In The One-China Policy: State, Sovereignty, and Taiwan’s International Legal Status (Elsevier), Professor Frank Chiang, originally from Taiwan himself, examines the murky issue from the perspective of international law and suggests a peaceful solution. The book is presented in two related parts: the first detailing the concept of the State, the theory of sovereignty, and their relations with international law; the second analyzing the political status of the ROC in Taiwan and the legal status of the island of Taiwan in international law.

With the current president of China, Xi Jinping, consolidating power in an unprecedented fashion, Chiang’s book responds to a defining issue of the One-China policy and a key international issue of our time. Chiang spares no actor in the territorial drama; he systematically critiques the role of the United Nations and other global players in relation to Taiwan.

In the foreword to the book, Professor Jerome A. Cohen of NYU School of Law says “a new generation of diplomats, politicians, scholars, journalists, and other observers can only benefit from Professor Chiang’s clear, careful, and stimulating study. His timely contribution deserves widespread appreciation.”

Peter A. Dutton, fellow of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute, says, “Frank Chiang’s impressive analysis of the status of Taiwan today shows us why this lush land is truly an island apart. … [E]very reader will undoubtedly learn much from the richness of Chiang’s carefully constructed legal and historical arguments. …”

Chiang is professor of law.


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