East Asia

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 291-306

First online:

Turmoil in the Taiwan Strait: Wellington Koo and ROC Foreign Policy 1953–1956

  • Reed H. ChervinAffiliated withHistory Department, University of Colorado Email author 

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Turmoil in the Taiwan Strait addresses Ambassador Wellington Koo's role in Chinese foreign policy from 1953 to 1956 and his relevance in the larger Cold War context. In particular, it focuses on Koo's involvement in the 1954 Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty and the 1955 Dachen Islands Crisis. This paper argues that, although Koo accomplished a fair amount during this time, he would have encountered fewer professional obstacles had he not represented Chiang Kai-Shek, who had become a controversial figure by the mid-1950s. At the same time, one can conclude that Koo creatively used media and meetings with statesmen abroad to shore up support for the Republic of China during this turbulent decade. This article attempts to provide another perspective on Koo, who has traditionally been understudied in the West. Furthermore, this work seeks to add a meaningful contribution to the historiography on cross-strait relations—particularly in the contemporary era.


Taiwan China Communism Foreign Affairs Diplomacy