0526: Biden’s Pledge to Defend Taiwan Militarily; U.S Not Bound by PRC’s “One China Principle”; “WHO for Taiwan” Ad

Biden: U.S. Forces Will Defend Taiwan Militarily if Attacked by China

On May 23, while in Tokyo, President Joe Biden vowed that the U.S. forces would defend Taiwan militarily if the latter was invaded by China, marking his strongest remarks to date on the issue of Taiwan’s defense.

China was already “flirting with danger,” Biden warned following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, amid rising tensions over China’s growing military and economic power and threat.

Asked if the U.S. was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China invaded, Biden replied: “Yes ― it’s a commitment we made.”

“We agree with the One China policy,” he said. “But the idea that [Taiwan] can be taken by force . . . is just not appropriate, it would dislocate the entire region and would be another action similar to Ukraine.”

Biden directly linked the fates of Ukraine and Taiwan, saying that sanctions on Russia must exact a “long-term price,” because otherwise “what signal does that send to China about the cost of attempting to take Taiwan by force?”

Over the past decades, the U.S. has maintained a stance characterized as “strategic ambiguity” when asked whether it would come to Taiwan’s defense in the event of an attack by China.

However, since taking office in January 2021, Biden has repeatedly used language that appears to diverge from this longstanding policy.

In August 2021, President Biden told ABC News that the U.S. had “made a sacred commitment” to defend its NATO allies, and the same held for Taiwan.

At a CNN town hall event in October, 2021, a participant asked Biden if he could “vow to protect Taiwan.” Biden replied “Yes.” He was then asked a second time by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper if the U.S. “would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked.” Biden replied: “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”

FAPA President Minze Chien comments: “President Biden’s repeated enunciations of the U.S. pledge to come to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion are extremely encouraging. Recently in Japan, President Biden again made clear what the U.S. commitment to Taiwan under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act really entails for the past 40 years.”

Dr. Chien adds: “The full U.S. commitment to Taiwan’s defense is omnipresent, stopping short of the U.S. putting the ‘strategic clarity’ stamp on it out of fear of ‘offending’ China. The White House and the State Department walking back President Biden’s remarks are merely well-rehearsed dance steps in this decades-old Washington Waltz.”

Watch Biden’s remarks in Tokyo on Taiwan’s defense HERE.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202205230014
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/05/24/2003778705

State Department: U.S Not Bound by PRC’s “One China Principle”

The U.S. Department of State has criticized China over its misrepresentation of the U.S.’ “one China policy,” following the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) criticism on the State Department’s updated online “fact sheet” on U.S.-Taiwan relations.

“The PRC continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy. The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and Six Assurances,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price tweeted on May 21.

Price’s comments came three days after Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian expressed Beijing’s displeasure at Washington’s stance, saying: “The US’ latest modification of the fact sheet is a trick to obscure and hollow out the one China principle.”

Zhao was referring to a change to the U.S. State Department’s fact sheet on Taiwan ties that removed statements that the U.S. acknowledged Beijing’s “one China” position and did not support Taiwanese independence.

The new Taiwan 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,” instead of saying not supporting Taiwan independence.

In September 2020, while serving as the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, David Stilwell said: “The U.S. has long had a one China policy. This is distinct from Beijing’s ‘one China principle’ under which the Chinese Communist Party asserts sovereignty over Taiwan. The U.S. takes no position on sovereignty over Taiwan.”

“The fundamental U.S. interest is that the Taiwan question be resolved peacefully, without coercion, and in a manner acceptable to the people on both sides of the [Taiwan] Strait – as Beijing promised,” Stilwell said, adding that the U.S. has “commitments to assist Taiwan in its self-defense, pursuant to the Taiwan Relations Act.”

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/05/22/2003778600
[2] Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4546073

Joint Overseas Taiwanese Organizations Call for “Full WHO Membership” for Taiwan in Full Page Ad

The 75th annual World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 22–28.

Taiwan is again left out of the health summit.

Ten joint overseas Taiwanese organizations ran a full-page ad in the May 24 edition of the Washington Times titled “Knocking on the WHO’s Door,” calling for Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “full member.”

The ad reads: “Taiwan tried to warn the world about the coronavirus. No one listened. If the WHO had heeded Taiwan’s warning, scores of lives around the world might have been saved.”

It continues: “When health officials in Taiwan heard about people in Wuhan, China falling sick with a mysterious pneumonia, they sent an email to the WHO on December 31, 2019 informing the WHO of its understanding of the disease and requesting more information. Taiwan immediately took action domestically assuming that human-to-human transmission was occurring. The WHO though ignored Taiwan’s early warning, and echoed Chinese officials that there was ‘no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.’”

It adds that “China is playing politics with the lives of the people of Taiwan, of the people of China, of the U.S. and of the rest of the world.”

And “There are no legal obstacles for Taiwan to become a full member of the WHO. There is only one political obstacle: The People’s Republic of China which has never governed Taiwan.”

It concludes: “It is time for the world to jointly stand up against China’s bullying and let Taiwan join all international organizations as a full member.”

FAPA President Minze Chien, Ph.D. reacts: “Diseases know no borders. The world must realize it is in the whole world’s interest to include Taiwan in the WHO. With the current COVID pandemic still devastating the world, and with a potential future spread of monkeypox, a missing link in the global health system is bound to be disastrous.”

Dr. Chien concludes: “We believe that it behooves the U.S. to tell China that if it continues to object to Taiwan’s membership in the WHO, we will send U.S. Secretary of HHS Xavier Becerra to Taiwan to get a firsthand look at Taiwan’s world-class health system. And if the Chinese continue to block Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO, we will send Secretary Buttigieg to Taiwan to study its high-speed rail. And if they continue to bar Taiwan from access to INTERPOL, we will ask Attorney General Merrick Garland to visit Taiwan. After all, such visits are consistent with the provisions of the 2018 Taiwan Travel Act, which lifted all restrictions on high-level visits from and to Taiwan ― including the President!”