0414: Pro-Taiwan Provisions in America COMPETES Act, Abe’s Op-Ed Urging U.S. “Strategic Clarity” Toward Taiwan

America COMPETES Act with Pro-Taiwan Provisions in It Enters Conference Stage

On March 28, the Senate passed the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R.4521), which includes various provisions to enhance U.S. relations and partnership with Taiwan. The House of Representatives had previously passed the bill on February 4.

With respect to Taiwan, both the House and Senate bills reiterate U.S. support and commitments to Taiwan under the “Taiwan Relations Act” (TRA) and the “Six Assurances,” and recognize Taiwan as a “vital part” of the U.S.’ Indo-Pacific strategy and a vital national security interest of the United States.

However, there are key differences in the House and Senate bills, which now go to conference to reconcile the differences.

The House bill, for instance, calls for negotiations on renaming Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the U.S. from “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” (TECRO) to “Taiwan Representative Office” (TRO), while the Senate version does not.

FAPA believes that the time for renaming TECRO to TRO has come. Such a new name will lend more dignity and respect to the 23 million people of U.S. long-time and democratic ally Taiwan. Moreover, if a “Taiwan Representative Office” could sit in Washington D.C., it could engage other allies to join the U.S. effort and make “Taiwan” offices “a new normal” across the world.

FAPA President Minze Chien adds: “In general, it behooves the State Department to announce the TECRO name change if and when China rattles its sabers in the Taiwan Strait, poaches a diplomatic ally of Taiwan, sends a large number of military aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ, or continues bullying Taiwan in its bid to join international organizations such as the WHO.”

Dr. Chien concludes: “We Taiwanese Americans ask that the members of Congress use their good offices to urge Reps. Meeks and McCaul and Sens. Menendez and Risch to see to it that the ‘TECRO name change to TRO’ and all other pro-Taiwan provisions will be incorporated in the final text of the America COMPETES Act before it goes to the president for a signature.”

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202203300007
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2022/03/31/2003775764

LA Times: Abe Calls for Complete U.S. “Strategic Clarity” Toward Taiwan

In an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times entitled “The U.S. must make clear to the world it will defend Taiwan against Chinese invasion” dated April 12, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urges the U.S. to adopt complete “strategic clarity” instead of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan’s defense.

Abe, who was prime minister of Japan from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020, writes: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reminded many people of the fraught relationship between China and Taiwan.” He lists “three similarities” between the situation in Ukraine and Taiwan, followed by “significant differences.”

The similarities are: (1) There is a very large military power gap between Taiwan and China, just as there was between Ukraine and Russia; (2) Neither Ukraine nor Taiwan has formal military allies; and (3) Because both Russia and China are permanent, veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council, the U.N.’s mediation function cannot be relied upon for conflicts in which they are involved.

Abe continues: “But the situation surrounding Taiwan is even more uneasy.” “[The] most important difference between Ukraine and Taiwan suggests strongly that it is time for the U.S. to reconsider its approach [toward Taiwan’s defense]. Simply put, whereas Ukraine is an independent state beyond any doubt, Taiwan is not.”

“When Russia annexed Crimea, the international community ultimately acquiesced, even though Russia had violated Ukrainian sovereignty. Given this precedent, it is not surprising that Chinese leaders may very well expect the world to be more tolerant should they, too, adopt the logic of ‘regional’ — rather than national — subjugation [of Taiwan].”

Abe concludes that this logic has made U.S. strategic ambiguity untenable, adding: “The U.S. should issue a statement that is not open to misinterpretation or multiple interpretations. The time has come for the U.S. to make clear that it will defend Taiwan against any attempted Chinese invasion.”

[1] Los Angeles Times: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-04-12/china-taiwan-invasion-united-states-policy-ambiguity