0512: U.S. New Taiwan Fact Sheet; Kishida’s Warning of Ukraine-Style Invasion of Taiwan, U.S. Warship Transiting Taiwan Strait

U.S. State Department Website Removes “U.S. Does Not Support Taiwan Independence” And “U.S. Acknowledges Chinese Position That Taiwan Is Part of China” References from Taiwan Fact Sheet

On May 5, the U.S. State Department updated its online fact sheet on U.S.-Taiwan relations, removing statements saying that the U.S. acknowledged the Chinese “one China” position and did not support Taiwan’s independence.

The previous version of the fact sheet, dated August 31, 2018, said the U.S. “[acknowledged] the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China,” and that the U.S. “does not support Taiwan independence.”

In the updated version, however, the U.S. acknowledgement of Chinese “one China” position and the U.S. attitude on Taiwan independence has been both removed, and the document now opens with: “As a leading democracy and a technological powerhouse, Taiwan is a key U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific.”

The new version still acknowledged that the U.S.-Taiwan relationship is “unofficial,” and added that the U.S. “has a longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances.”

Instead of saying not supporting Taiwan independence, the new fact sheet now says the U.S. encourages a “peaceful resolution of cross-Strait differences” that is “consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan.”

At a press briefing on May 10, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the recent updates of a fact sheet on U.S.-Taiwan relations did not indicate a change in the U.S. policy toward Taiwan. “Our fact sheets reflect, in the case of Taiwan, our rock-solid, unofficial relationship with Taiwan,” he added, while calling on China not to “manufacture pretenses” to increase pressure on Taiwan.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202205100003
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/05/11/2003778037
[3] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202205110004

Japanese PM Kishida Warns of Ukraine-Style Invasion of Taiwan, Calling for Unity Against Autocratic Powers

On May 5, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned that the invasion of Ukraine could be replicated in East Asia if democratic countries do not stand up to autocratic ones, saying peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait must be maintained.

Speaking in London after a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Kishida called for leading powers and democratic nations to solidify their unity and recognize that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was not just a European problem. 

“Ukraine may be east Asia tomorrow,” Kishida warned. “Collaboration among countries sharing universal values becomes ever more vital,” he added.

Asked about the implications for Taiwan, Kishida said: “We must collaborate with our allies and like-minded countries, and never tolerate a unilateral attempt to change the status quo by the use of force in the Indo-Pacific, especially in east Asia.”

“Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is critical not only for Japan’s security, but also for the stability of international society,” Kishida said. “Japan maintains its position to expect a peaceful resolution through dialogue to issues surrounding Taiwan, and the situation will be watched carefully from that perspective.”

Earlier, Johnson said: “We in the UK recognise that our security in Europe is indivisible from the security, our collective security, in the Asia-Pacific, in the Indo-Pacific region.” “And there is direct read across from the actions of autocratic, coercive powers in Europe, to what may happen in east Asia.”

The U.K. and Japan have just signed a defensive military agreement, in part dedicated to keep the seas free and open.

Meanwhile in Washington, Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin vowed to defend the rules-based international order in a meeting at the Pentagon on May 4.

The U.S. and Japan would enhance cooperation to oppose China’s expansionism in the East and South China seas to prevent any change by force to the “status quo” in the region, they said.

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/05/07/2003777833
[2] The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/05/japanese-premier-warns-of-ukraine-style-invasion-by-autocratic-powers

U.S. Warship Sails Through Taiwan Strait for 2nd Time in Two Weeks, Amid China’s Increasing Threat to Taiwan

On May 10, a U.S. warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait to show Washington’s “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the 7th Fleet under the U.S. Pacific Command said.

The ship, identified as the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) made the transit as part of a “routine operation and was done in accordance with international laws,” the 7th Fleet said in a statement.

“Port Royal’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it said. “The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”

The 7th Fleet said the ship transited through a corridor in the Taiwan Strait that is “beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state.”

It was the second time in two weeks that an American warship has transited through the narrow waterway separating Taiwan and China. The last voyage was made by the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Sampson (DDG-102) on April 26.

On the same day the USS Port Royal was sailing in the Taiwan Strait, a Chinese attack helicopter briefly crossed the median line of the waterway, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said.

The MND said the Chinese WZ-10 attack helicopter that crossed the median line in a relative southern part of the Taiwan Strait was flying on a mission with two KA-28 anti-submarine helicopters.

Meanwhile, the Chinese military confirmed on May 9 it had conducted live-fire drills in waters and airspace off Taiwan’s eastern and southwestern coasts from May 6–8 to test and upgrade its joint combat capabilities.

On May 10, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that the threat posed by China to Taiwan between now and 2030 is “critical,” while testifying on worldwide threats at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“It’s our view that they [China] are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention,” Haines added.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202205110003
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202205090008
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/05/12/2003778087