The United States had given up on the KMT shortly after World War II ended, but the Korean War altered the situation. Geopolitical and strategic reasons prompted the US to include Taiwan on its defensive front. The KMT therefore acted obsequiously toward the United States to play the role of a loyal ally. The United States responded by backing the KMT regime in the United Nations as the sole legitimate government of China. The KMT regime also established close ties with authoritarian regimes sponsored by the US in Latin America under the principle of anti-communism Ал an act that severely damaged Taiwan's international reputation.
During the seventies, the US sought to reconciliate with China and attempted to persuade the KMT to consent to the Chinese Communist regime's admission to the United Nations according to the policy of "One Country, Two Representatives" and "Two Chinas." However, Chiang Kai-shek refused and the KMT regime was expelled from the United Nations. From then on, Taiwan is reduced to a mere "political entity" without an ID card in the international world.
The US and China established formal diplomatic relations in 1979. And yet the KMT administration persisted in its claim of "One China" and itself as the only legitimate government regardless. This rhetoric forced other countries to choose between the KMT and Communist China when the usual result was to cut off their diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Although Chiang Ching-kuo brought forth the principle of "Flexible Diplomacy" which attempted to maintain substantive ties without formal diplomatic relations with other states, he still preposterously proclaimed that his regime represented all Chinese in the world without recognizing the diplomatic embarrassment.
Due to the illegitimate nature of the KMT regime, President Lee Teng-hui has grabbed every possible chance that he can use to consolidate and legitimate his regime. Confronted by the Taiwanese' frustration with its diplomatic failure and the growing pressure from the opposition campaign, the KMT regime has come up with "Pragmatic Diplomacy," meaning acknowledging the reality of the two political entities even though retaining the belief that "there is only one China" and that "Taiwan is part of China." Efforts were made for "re-entry" to the United Nations as the KMT has turned itself back to accepting the offer the US made before: "One Nation, Two Representatives" and "Dual Recognition."
For now, China's refusal and pressure constitute the main impediments to the KMT's diplomatic efforts. In our view, however, this impasse is mainly due to the decision makers' failure to recognize Taiwan's independence of China. They consider consent to "Dual Recognition," an expedient means for the immediate diplomatic necessity while the unification goal should remain the ultimate goal in all cases. That is why any label or title can be used but the name, "Taiwan."
The international reality points to a different direction, however. As we can see, as long as the KMT uses any appellation containing "Chinese" or "China," it will be less possible for Taiwan to gain formal support in international organizations. This is why the European Community will not recognize or back "The Republic of China on Taiwan." Lee Teng-hui has recently expressed willingness to concede to the openup of "three ways of communications" (san tung) in exchange for admission to the United Nations. In any case, diplomatic obstacles cannot and will not be easily overcome unless the KMT regime gives up its "One Chine" policy and uses "Taiwan" as a formal title in the international community.