0317: Ban on “Inaccurate” Taiwan Maps, Taiwan’s New Reservist Training, Heavy Cost of War Against Taiwan

Appropriations Bill Becomes Law and Bans “Inaccurate” Maps Depicting Taiwan as Part of China 

On March 15, President Joe Biden signed into law a sweeping US$1.5 trillion spending bill that includes a ban on the use of any maps that “inaccurately” depict Taiwan as part of China by the U.S. State Department and its foreign operations.

The ban, contained in the State and Foreign Operations bill, which was part of the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022” (H.R.2471), stipulates that “None of the funds made available by this Act should be used to create, procure, or display any map that inaccurately depicts the territory and social and economic system of Taiwan and the islands or island groups administered by Taiwan authorities.”

The ban on funding inaccurate Taiwan maps was proposed in July 2021 by various lawmakers led by Representative Tom Tiffany (R-WI).

The original “Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022” (H.R.4373) had stipulated that “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to create, procure, or display any map that depicts Taiwan, Kinmen, Matsu, Penghu, Wuciou, Green Island, or Orchid Island as part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China.”

When he proposed the ban in July, Tiffany said in the House that “As we all know, Taiwan has never been part of Communist China” and that “By every measure, Taiwan is a sovereign, democratic and independent country. Any claims to the contrary are simply false.”

Tiffany argued that the U.S. should abandon the dishonest “One China Policy” that accommodates “Beijing’s bogus argument that Taiwan is part of Communist China,” adding that the bill would “at least require honest maps that stop perpetuating the ‘One-China’ lie.”

On March 12, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked U.S. lawmakers and the Biden administration for supporting U.S.-Taiwan relations. The ban on inaccurate maps shows that the U.S. “recognizes Taiwan as not being a part of China and is willing to take legislative action to ensure truthful depictions of the situation across the Taiwan Strait,” it said in a statement.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202203120003
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/03/13/2003774680
[3] Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/taiwan-house-motion-bans-map-showing-island-part-china-independent-1614208

Taiwan Hoping New Reservist Training Will Bolster War Readiness and Sense of Unity

On March 12, Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said he hoped a new reservist training regimen launched a week ago would boost Taiwan’s combat readiness against China’s invasion.

The reserve force plays an important part in Taiwan’s defense, but the training provided previously was insufficient, because it only lasted 5 to 7 days, four times in eight years, Chiu said shortly after he joined President Tsai Ing-wen in watching reservists conducting a drill at a shooting range.

Under the new reservist training program, they will train for 14 days a time and participate in more intensive drills, but will only have to do so twice every eight years. The military will monitor the results to see if the new training regimen improves the combat readiness of Taiwan’s reservists.

Last Saturday’s drill, which simulated defending a beach against an attack, was performed by some of the 400 reservists who started the new 14-day training program on March 6.

After observing the training, President Tsai said the situation in Ukraine showed that in addition to international support and assistance, a country’s defense depends on the unity of its whole people. She hoped Taiwan’s new training regimen would nurture a stronger sense of unity and responsibility among reservists in protecting their homeland.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense plans to have about 15,000 reservists trained under the new regimen at the 24 battalions across Taiwan this year, while another 97,000 reservists will go through the original 5-to-7-day program.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202203120014
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2022/03/14/2003774749

Taiwan Warns China of Heavy Cost of War Against Taiwan

On March 10, Taiwan’s Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng warned that a war in the Taiwan Strait would only result in a “miserable victory” because of the high cost to the winner, while vowing that Taiwan would do everything in its power to avoid war, but remain vigilant and be prepared for any contingencies in case military conflict breaks out.

There are similarities between the situation in Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia, and that of Taiwan, but there are also significant differences, Chiu said. “We have a geographic advantage, as the Taiwan Strait is a maritime barrier that is risky to cross,” he told the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan.

Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu also said that China would be making a mistake if it invades Taiwan. “China will pay a very heavy price,” Wu told the lawmakers.

“Because of the war in Ukraine, the world’s attention has been drawn to the security situation in the Taiwan Strait,” Wu said. “We are certain that China is aware of this, and it is seeing the worldwide response — that the global democratic alliance will not tolerate a country taking up arms to invade another country and undermine its sovereignty.”

Taiwan’s National Security Bureau Director-General Chen Ming-tong told the legislature that China, taking advantage of the conflict in Ukraine, has heightened its political and economic pressure on Taiwan.

“This includes military threats, with China continuing its united front tactics and cognitive warfare to spread disinformation and penetrate our society. China is also engaging in cyberwarfare, stepping up hacker attacks and other tactics to intimidate us,” he said.

“China’s purpose is to erode our national defense and digital security resources, to sow discord and internal conflict among our military and society, and to erode the public’s will to fight and defend our country,” Chen said, adding that his bureau is closely monitoring such Chinese campaigns against Taiwan and any sign of hostile moves by the Chinese military.

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/03/11/2003774569
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202203110008