Formerly known by Europeans as Formosa, the island off the coast of China was ceded to Japan in 1895 but restored to China in 1945. When Chiang Kai-shek was defeated by Mao Zedong’s communist forces in 1949, Chiang occupied Formosa, imposed control, and established the capital, Taipei, as the center of the Republic of China. Taiwan was not recognized by the People’s Republic, and in 1950 President Harry S. Truman dispatched the U.S. Seventh Fleet to defend the island against a possible invasion. The U.S. commitment was reaffirmed in 1958 when communist China again threatened military action. The refusal of the People’s Republic to recognize Taiwan as an independent state led to its exclusion from the United Nations until 1971, when it replaced the Republic of China in the chamber. The United States ended their defense ties with Taiwan after recognizing communist China in 1979.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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