0708: Amendments to the EAGLE Act, Aso on U.S.-Japan Collective Defense of Taiwan

Several Pro-Taiwan Amendments Incorporated into EAGLE Act Legislation

Several provisions of pro-Taiwan bills have been incorporated into a House legislative package, the “Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act” or “EAGLE Act” (H.R.3524), which seeks to revitalize U.S. leadership and engagement in the Indo-Pacific region and globally to counter China’s growing ambitions and challenges.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee held meetings on June 30 and July 1 to review the act. At the beginning of the markup session, the Committee Chairman, Rep. Gregory Meeks, added substitute amendments to the package, including provisions of the Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act, the Taiwan Peace and Stability Act, and the Taiwan International Solidarity Act.

An incorporated clause from the Taiwan International Solidarity Act clarifies that the United Nations (UN) recognition of the People’s Republic of China did not address the issue of Taiwan representation at the UN system, nor take any position on the relationship between the PRC and Taiwan or the sovereignty issue of Taiwan.

Some amendments incorporated the elements of the Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act, such as directing the Secretary of State to enter negotiation with the “Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs” to rename Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the U.S. from the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” (TECRO) to the “Taiwan Representative Office” (TRO).

Some pro-Taiwan proposals for amendments, however, were rejected by voice vote, such as allowing Taiwan government officials to display symbols of Taiwan’s sovereignty while performing official duties in the U.S., and making Taiwan a “NATO plus” partner. Those rejected proposals would be reconsidered through recorded votes when the sessions resume on July 12 after a recess.

FAPA strongly urges the following key amendment to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan relations: adding a section of “Treatment of Taiwan Government” (as seen in the Section 3215 of S.1260) to the EAGLE Act, to end the outdated practice of referring to the government in Taiwan as the “Taiwan authorities” and acknowledge the democratically elected “government of Taiwan” as the “legitimate representative of the people of Taiwan.”

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202107020027
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2021/07/04/2003760278

Japan and U.S. Must Defend Taiwan Together: Aso

Japan’s deputy prime minister said the country would have to defend Taiwan with the United States if the island was invaded by China. Taiwan’s peace and stability have become a national security focus of Japan, which recently conducted joint military exercises with the U.S. in the event of a conflict with China over Taiwan.

During a speech in Tokyo on July 5, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said if China invaded Taiwan, “it would not be too much to say that it could relate to a survival-threatening situation [for Japan],” allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. 

“If that is the case, Japan and the U.S. must defend Taiwan together,” Aso said, adding that “we need to think hard that Okinawa could be the next.” Aso, who doubles as finance minister, is one of four cabinet members who sit on Japan’s National Security Council.

Aso’s comments followed earlier remarks by Japan’s Deputy Minister of Defense Yasuhide Nakayama, who said during a presentation last month that it was necessary to “wake up” to China’s growing threats and protect Taiwan “as a democratic country.” He added that if something happened in Taiwan, it would affect Japan’s Okinawa prefecture, where U.S. forces and their families are based.

When asked about the Japanese leaders’ comments, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on July 6 reiterated the U.S. commitments to prevent China from militarily annexing Taiwan and help Taiwan defend itself, but sidestepped questions about Aso’s pledge for Japan and the U.S. to defend Taiwan in a Chinese invasion.

Nonetheless, earlier on July 2, Kirby confirmed that the U.S. has conducted military exercises with Japan near the Senkaku Islands (or the Diaoyu Islands), but declined to comment on the scenario of the drills. According to a Financial Times report, the US and Japan have been conducting war games and joint military exercises in the event of a conflict with China over Taiwan, amid escalating concerns over the Chinese military’s assertive activities.

[1] Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/japans-aso-peaceful-solution-desirable-any-taiwan-contingency-2021-07-06/
[2] Nikkei Asia: https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Indo-Pacific/Japan-s-No.-2-raises-possibility-of-joining-US-in-defending-Taiwan
[3] Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/japan-minister-says-necessary-wake-up-protect-taiwan-2021-06-28/
[4] Washington Times: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/jul/6/pentagon-declines-say-if-japan-would-help-defend-t/
[5] Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/54b0db59-a403-493e-b715-7b63c9c39093