0609: U.S. Latest Taiwan Fact Sheet; China Able to Fight Against Taiwan and Allies by 2027; Taiwan Signs Judicial Pact with Slovakia

U.S. State Department Puts “No Support for Taiwan Independence” Back in Taiwan Fact Sheet

The U.S. Department of State has put back a statement that it does not support Taiwan independence in the latest update of an online fact sheet on U.S.-Taiwan relations.

The latest version of the Taiwan fact sheet, published on May 28, states that “we do not support Taiwan independence,” a phrase which had been included in the fact sheet at least since the 2018 version before it was removed from the previous version on May 5, triggering a strong protest from Beijing.

“We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side; we do not support Taiwan independence; and we expect cross-Strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means,” the latest fact sheet read.

However, the statement that “the United States recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China [PRC] as the sole legal government of China, acknowledging the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China,” which was also removed on May 5, was not added back to the latest update.

Asked by CNA if the latest update was a response to China’s protest, a spokesperson of the State Department, who asked not to be named, said “absolutely not.”

“We have always been clear with the PRC about our one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act [TRA], the three [U.S.-China] Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances [to Taiwan],” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, a statement that the U.S. “maintains our capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of Taiwan” consistent with the TRA, was added to the updated fact sheet.

It was updated to reflect U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s speech on May 26 about the U.S. approach toward China, the spokesperson said.

“As the Secretary said, we enjoy a strong unofficial relationship with Taiwan, a vibrant democracy and leading economy in the region,” he said.

In Taipei, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said that the U.S. has explained the changes, while declining to comment further.

Taiwan will continue to uphold its democratic constitutional system and the inviolability of its sovereignty, the ministry said, adding that Taiwan’s future would be determined by the will of the Taiwanese people.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202206030004
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/06/04/2003779322

China Able to Fight Against Taiwan and Allied Forces by 2027: Taiwan’s MND

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China will be capable of fighting against Taiwan and allied forces by 2027, a recent report by Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said.

China has set a goal of modernizing its warfare capabilities by 2027, which will be the 100th anniversary of the Chinese PLA’s founding, and it might by then be able to act more aggressively toward Taiwan, according to the MND report submitted to the Legislature Yuan.

China has over the past few years stationed an increasing number of modern warships along its southeastern coast, as it is seeking to maintain its military advantage in the region and attempting to build a system of intelligence warfare by 2027, the report said.

By 2027, China is expected to possess regional air defense capabilities, and long-range sea and airstrike systems, which would greatly extend its combat range, following the introduction of its aircraft carriers Liaoning and Shandong, a second-generation Type 003 aircraft carrier, and the mass production of Type 055 destroyers, Y-20 tanker aircraft and J-20 fighters, according to the report.

The ministry said Chinese naval and air forces would be capable of projecting power at greater distances from China, extending its reach of military operations and enabling it to counter joint forces between Taiwan and its allies.

Taiwan would respond by improving its defense capabilities in joint operations against an invasion through integrated air defense systems and maritime interception, the report said. 

The ministry said Taiwan would also focus on armed forces development, including plans for mass production of mature weapons, but did not specify what kind of weapons it was referring to. 

The report said that China will continue developing its capabilities to counter the U.S. military in the Indo-Pacific region, which remains an integral part of the U.S.’ strategic focus despite the recent Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Taiwan’s ministry said there could be an intensified U.S.-China standoff in the region by 2027 ― over issues including cross-Taiwan Strait relations, tensions on the Korean Peninsula and territorial disputes in the South China Sea ― which could increase the risk of conflict between the two countries.

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley has also, since last year, reiterated that China aims to develop the military capability to invade Taiwan by 2027.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202206040009
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/06/06/2003779417

Taiwan Signs Judicial Pact with Slovakia, While EU Parliament Voices Concern over China’s “Threats” to Taiwan

On June 8, Taiwan and Slovakia signed an agreement on Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters, the first of its kind signed by Taiwan with an European Union (EU) country.

The pact was signed during a ceremony held at Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ headquarters in Taipei by David Lee, Taiwan’s top representative to Slovakia, and Martin Podstavek, Slovakia’s top representative to Taiwan.

The event was witnessed by a visiting Slovakia delegation, led by Slovak National Council Deputy Speaker Milan Laurenčík, as well as Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Justice Minister Tsai Ching-hsiang.

Wu described the agreement as another “extraordinary milestone” in bilateral ties that gives Taiwan and Slovakia a comprehensive framework for cooperation on judicial issues. The two countries had already signed an agreement on Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters in August 2021.

Laurenčík said the agreement is another major step in mutual cooperation that will strengthen the bilateral friendship between Slovakia and Taiwan. “Good deals make good friends,” Laurenčík added.

This was the first agreement on Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters that Taiwan has signed with an EU country.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament voted on June 7 to pass a resolution expressing, in part, concern over China’s “threats” to Taiwan’s sovereignty and security in the wider Indo-Pacific region.

The resolution was based on a report on the EU and the security challenges in the Indo-Pacific, which pointed out that China’s use of military action to threaten the territorial integrity of Taiwan had exerted “further strain on regional security and stability” in the Indo-Pacific.

The report stressed “[the European Parliament’s] opposition to any unilateral action that may undermine the status quo of the Taiwan Strait,” and reiterated that “any change to cross-strait relations must not be made against the will of Taiwan’s citizens.”

At the same time, the report recognized Taiwan as “a key partner and democratic ally in the Indo-Pacific,” and called for the EU to enhance its existing partnership with Taiwan to promote common values such as democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and good governance in the region.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202206080008
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/06/09/2003779594
[3] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202206080011