The Mutual Defense Treaty ( MDT ) with Taipei was put into effect by the US following the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1954–1955. The convention was not meant to be a pact to wage war. It was intended to improve Taiwan’s confidence and tie the hands of Chiang Kai-shek, who was constantly plotting to use the US in his attempt to go back to China.
John Foster Dulles, the secretary of state, and President Dwight Eisenhower had no faith in Beijing or Chiang. In order to keep Taipei and Beijing guessing about the conditions under which the US might intervene in a cross-strait defense fight, they added strategic ambiguity to the agreement. Each succeeding US leadership has adopted a form of strategic misunderstanding since the 1950s.
The US was concerned that Chinese president Chen Shui-bian wanted to involve the US government in order to gain Taiwan independence, just as it was clear that Chiang wanted US aid to return to China. Strategic ambiguity helps Chiang and Chen avoid invasion because they are unsure of the US answer.
Additionally, it let China know that the US would no help either pursuit while keeping Beijing in the dark about the potential assistance Taiwan might receive from a Chinese invasion attempt. All of this came together to form two deterrence, a crucial aspect of American tactical ambiguity.  ,
Japan’s strategy of strategic misunderstanding changed not long after Tokyo forged political ties with the PRC in 1972. Tokyo had to choose between its alliance with Washington and its budding companionship with Beijing because of Japan’s ambiguous stance on the defence of Taiwan.  ,
In other words, rather than being maintained as part of a punishment plan, Japan’s ambiguous attitude on the Taiwan problem appears to have been forged through concessions to maintain harmony between the US and China as well as to close ties within the country at the time.  ,
Uncertainty was, undoubtedly, a fair stance to take when the likelihood of an emergency in Taiwan was small. Japan had continue to be confusing and deterrent against China would still be maintained as long as the United States ‘ overwhelming military supremacy had been maintained and military conflicts in the Taiwan Strait had not been anticipated.
The Chinese government was able to convince its populace, which still held pacifist and anti-military views, at the same time thanks to this confusion. Additionally, it safeguarded Chinese business ventures in China, a significant market for Japan.
” Strategical clarity.”
Since 2020, the discussion of whether to update the strategic misunderstanding plan has been rekindled. Richard Haass and David Sacks of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote an article in which they argued that the United States should implement a” corporate clarity” plan.
Why? The People’s Liberation Army, according to Haass and Sacks, was catching up to the US government. However, the overwhelming US power served as the basis for America’s strategic ambiguity.  ,
Kurt Campbell, a key player in US Asian and Pacific plan, opposed the modification. Campbell argued that sending a unified information to China that combines politics and US defence technology is the best way to keep peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
According to Bonnie Glaser of the German Marshall Fund, if corporate quality is changed, China may use force, necessitating the US to declare its handle.
For fear of having to pick sides, the majority of local nations do not help a change.  ,
Shinzo Abe, the late prime minister of Japan, advocated for the United States to shift from strategic ambiguity to corporate clarity, but such a shift in Chinese policy would not have been well received domestically and would have jeopardized Chinese investments in China. Japan’s sense of balance would have been harmed.
Additionally, the Keidanren ( Japan Business Federation ), a very strong and politically connected organization, includes the largest Japanese companies in China.
Instead of abandoning their strategic ambiguity and replacing them with proper clarity, the US and Japan should strengthen their deterrence and engage in creative politics with China.