A Lilliputian Tethers Gulliver: State Governments in Taiwan’s Foreign Policy Towards the US
Despite severing official ties in 1979, Taiwan’s relationship with the United States remains robust. However, little research has been done into the methods Taiwan employs to maintain the support of the United States, which remains its primary ally and security guarantor. This study looks at the role of state governments in Taiwan’s foreign policy towards the US. Due to America’s federalist system, these governments are exempt from the US Federal government’s “One China” policy. Therefore, America’s highly influential state governments are an avenue through which Taiwan can promote its interests in the US. This study analyzes the pro-Taiwan activity of all 50 states and is supported by interviews with state-level decision makers. As such, this paper breaks new ground by providing insight into Taiwan’s expansive system of subnational ties with US states and placing it within the context of Taiwan’s foreign policy and security goals. The results of this research illustrate that state governments are an integral part of Taiwan’s foreign policy towards the US. Taiwan’s relationships with these subnational governments are its solution to how it can bind the United States closer to Taiwan and its interests despite the unofficial nature of the US-Taiwan relationship.
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