Taiwan's Management of Relations with the United States During the First Chen Shui-bian Administration

Michael D. Swaine Report May 5, 2005
This report was prepared for a conference on the first Chen Shui-bian Administration, held in Annapolis Maryland in May 2005, and sponsored by Harvard University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

This report was prepared for a conference on the first Chen Shui-bian Administration, held in Annapolis Maryland in May 2005, and sponsored by Harvard University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.  During his first administration, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian traversed the full spectrum of relations with the United States: from trusted democratic friend and quasi-ally with increasingly convergent views, to highly distrusted and disliked leader, viewed by Washington as potentially disruptive of some vital U.S. interests.  Shortly after entering office, President Chen received an unprecedented level of political---and military---support from the recently elected President George W. Bush.  At that time (2001-2002), Chen was regarded by Washington as an energetic democrat with strong support from the Taiwan public and a close, consultative and cooperative relationship with the White House (the last point was in contrast to his predecessor, Lee Teng-hui).  However, by the end of his first term in office, Chen was regarded by Bush as extremely untrustworthy and a potential source of significant new problems for a U.S. president preoccupied with Iraq, his reelection campaign, and the agenda for a prospective second term.

Such a radical reversal came about as a result of a combination of broad shifts in U.S. foreign policy priorities, domestic political forces in Taiwan, the inexperience and immaturity of the Chen Administration, and perhaps most importantly, a series of personal blunders by President Chen in respect to his management of relations with the White House, and with President Bush in particular.  Fundamentally, the mistakes of the first Chen Administration derived to a large extent from a misreading of the U.S. policy dynamic involving Taiwan.  Chen placed narrower, short-term domestic political calculations above those fundamental, enduring strategic imperatives that confront every Taiwan government---especially the imperative of maintaining reasonably close and cooperative relations with the U.S.

End of document

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Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2005/05/05/taiwan-s-management-of-relations-with-united-states-during-first-chen-shui-bian-administration/2pz1

In Fact



of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.


of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.


charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.


thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.


of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.


trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.


of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.


of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.


of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.


of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.


U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.


of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.


million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.


of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.


of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


now needs urgent assistance.


political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

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