Exploring Dual Triangles: The Development of Taipei-Washington-Beijing Relations

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The concept of the "strategic triangle" has been conventionally applied to the relationship among the United States, the Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China (PRC). In actuality, there has also existed a mini-triangle among Washington, Taipei, and Beijing. The first part of this paper explores the various positions in a strategic triangle, ranks these roles in terms of desirability, differentiates between endogenous and exogenous factors, and identifies three sets of derivative relations based on exogenous factors. The paper then reviews the historical patterns of interactions within the great strategic triangle and the mini-triangle, as well as explores the impact of the former on the latter. The third part concentrates on the post-Tiananmen permutations of the dual triangles, evaluates the PRC's position after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and explains U.S. behavior during the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait mini-crisis in view of the structure of the mini-triangle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-52
Number of pages27
JournalIssues and Studies
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1996


  • Cross-strait relations
  • International relations
  • Strategic triangle
  • Taiwan Strait crisis
  • The PRC


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