0310: Pompeo’s Urging of U.S. to Diplomatically Recognize Taiwan, Bill to Sanction China if Invading Taiwan, F-16s Delivery to Taiwan

U.S. Should Diplomatically Recognize Taiwan: Pompeo

On March 4, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a speech in Taipei that the U.S. government should diplomatically recognize Taiwan as a “free and sovereign country” immediately.

“It is my view that the U.S. government should immediately take necessary and long overdue steps to do the right and obvious thing — that is, to offer the Republic of China (Taiwan) America’s diplomatic recognition as a free and sovereign country,” Pompeo said.

“This is not about Taiwan’s future independence. It is about recognizing an unmistakable, already existent reality. That reality is . . . there is no need for Taiwan to declare independence because it’s already an independent country,” Pompeo said.

“The Taiwanese people deserve the world’s respect for continuing down this free, democratic and sovereign path,” he concluded.

Pompeo, who is currently a distinguished fellow at the Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute, was giving a speech hosted by the Taipei-based Prospect Foundation, as part of his four-day visit to Taiwan from March 2–5.

“It is imperative to change 50 years of ambiguity,” Pompeo said, referring to the U.S. government stance regarding the disputed issue of Taiwan’s international legal status.

“While the United States should continue to engage with the People’s Republic of China as a sovereign government, America’s diplomatic recognition of the 23 million freedom-loving Taiwanese people, its legal, democratically elected government can no longer be ignored, avoided, or treated as secondary,” Pompeo urged.

“Taking over Taiwan [by China] will change the global balance of power in the most fundamental ways,” Pompeo warned. “Taiwan is crucial to U.S. defense and deterrence. It is situated right in the middle of our defensive parameters, from Japan to Korea to the Philippines in the South China Sea. Losing Taiwan would directly imperil our other vital national interests as well,” he added.

On March 3, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen awarded a special honor to Pompeo in recognition of his contributions to promoting closer U.S.-Taiwan ties during his tenure.

[1] Pompeo’s Full Speech in Taipei (March 4): https://www.pf.org.tw/files/7934/D97B47EC-924B-42F5-9E0A-89A20D107208
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202203040019
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/03/04/2003774155

Senators Introduce Bill to Sanction China in the Event of Taiwan Invasion

On March 2, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) was joined by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Kennedy (R-LA) to introduce the “Deterring Communist Chinese Aggression Against Taiwan Through Financial Sanctions Act” (S.3735), which would impose devastating financial sanctions against China should it invade, blockade, or enact regime change in Taiwan through the use of force.

The Act would sever all financial transactions between the U.S. and China in such an event, and also require the U.S. president to implement sanctions on China within 30 days.

Sanctions under the proposed bill would include: a ban on transactions of property; restrictions on transfers of credit or payments between financial institutions with China; the revocation of visas and restrictions on Chinese nationals involved in the use of force against Taiwan; a ban on investment in equity or debt of sanctioned persons; and a prohibition on financial engagement with Chinese military and software companies, financial messaging systems and digital currencies.

In a press release, Sen. Scott said Taiwan was one of the United States’ “most important partners in the Asia-Pacific.” “We have watched Communist China’s increasingly frequent actions to harass and intimidate the Taiwanese people, through regular military encroachments and cyberattacks. We must be clear that these intimidation tactics will not be ignored,” Scott said.

“Passing this bill will make clear to [Chinese Communist Party] General Secretary Xi that if he mimics Putin’s invasion [of Ukraine] then he will be met with economic isolation and severe financial sanctions,” Scott added.

Sen. Cramer said, “Taiwan is a friend, good trading partner, and beacon of freedom and democracy. Our bill threatens crippling financial sanctions as a deterrence to China trying to follow in Putin’s footsteps as it relates to Taiwan.”

Sen. Kennedy said, “Moscow is banding together with Beijing to bully the world. Now more than ever, we must make it clear to the Chinese Communist Party that armed aggression towards Taiwan would deal a devastating blow to China’s economy.” “We can’t let China seize the moment to attack one of America’s key partners in the Pacific,” Kennedy added.

[1] Sen. Scott’s Office: https://www.rickscott.senate.gov/2022/3/sen-rick-scott-colleagues-introduce-bill-to-sanction-communist-china-in-the-event-of-taiwan-invasion
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202203030013
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/03/04/2003774158

U.S. Denies “Rumor” About Sending Taiwan’s F-16s to Poland

On March 7, the U.S. Department of Defense said the U.S. has no plans to send F-16 fighter jets scheduled for delivery to Taiwan to Poland instead, calling speculation raised by a recent American media report “not accurate.”

The comments by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby followed a report in the New York Times on March 6, which said the Biden administration was exploring ways to supply Polish Soviet-made fighter jets to Ukraine to aid in its war against Russia, as Ukrainian pilots are more familiar with Russian-made jets.

One option was to send U.S.-made F-16s to Poland as replacements, the report said. With the next tranche of U.S. F-16s for export set to go to Taiwan, those fighter jets were an option, the report added, though noting that U.S. officials were reluctant to delay the Taiwan F-16 program.

When asked during a CNN interview on March 7 whether F-16 jets meant for Taiwan could be provided to Poland, Kirby replied, “That rumor is not accurate.” He did acknowledge, however, that Washington would not stand in the way if any nation did want to provide fighter jets to Ukraine.

The U.S. government in 2019 approved the sale of 66 F-16Vs to Taiwan in an US$8 billion deal, with delivery expected to start in 2023 and extend through 2026. The 66 F-16Vs will be deployed at Taitung Air Base in eastern Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Taiwan is also upgrading its 100-plus F-16A/B fighter jets to the more advanced F-16V format.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202203080009
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2022/03/09/2003774463