American policy toward Taiwan is inevitably linked to China. Since the Nixon presidency, successive administrations have struggled to find the proper balance between their desire to build a stronger relationship with China and the political and moral imperative to maintain informal ties with Taiwan and to provide for its security. For its part, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has said from the beginning that the Taiwan issue is the central issue in U.S.-China relations. This was true during the ambassadorial talks of the 1950s and during normalization talks in the 1970s, and it remains true today. Congressional critics of the administration’s China policy repeatedly seek to enhance and clarify the U.S. commitment to Taiwan. Their support for Taiwan is strongly influenced by their disdain for the PRC. This was particularly apparent during the Clinton administration, but has been true for every president going back to Nixon, and is likely regardless of which party is in the White House. Conversely, many mainstream China specialists in the United States see Taiwan primarily as an irritant in U.S.-China relations, and would like to limit the U.S. commitment to Taiwan in order to promote better relations with the PRC.