0721: Taiwanese People’s Right to Self-Determination; Esper Urges U.S. “Strategic Clarity” Toward Taiwan; U.S. Arms Sale to Taiwan

Only Taiwanese People Can Decide Taiwan’s Future — No Room for Chinese Aggression in Taiwan: Visiting European Parliament VP

Only Taiwanese people can decide their nation’s future, visiting European Parliament (EP) Vice President Nicola Beer said on July 20 in Taipei, while urging China to refrain from its “threatening gestures” toward democratic Taiwan.

Upon her arrival at the Taoyuan International Airport on July 19, Beer said she was honored to be visiting Taiwan for a three-day-trip in her “official capacity” as one of the three EP vice presidents.

“Taiwan’s bloom is Europe’s bloom,” she said, adding that Europe will not turn a blind eye to the Chinese threat toward Taiwan.

Beer, who is from Germany and has been an EP member since 2019, said that there is “no room for Chinese aggression in democratic Taiwan.” “We won’t be late for Taiwan,” she added.

On July 20, during a meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, Beer urged China to refrain from “threatening gestures” that could alter the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait.

The European Union (EU) had “deep and serious concern about China moving in a direction that could unilaterally alter the status quo [in cross-Taiwan Strait relations],” she added.

Only Taiwanese people can decide Taiwan’s future, Beer said, adding that societal development ought to continue in a “free and peaceful” manner.

Europe would “stand up against any provocation or threatening of the status quo” while working to contribute to peace and stability in Asia, she said.

Taiwan-EU relations have progressed a long way, Beer said, adding that her visit as vice president of the European Parliament is indicative of that.

Taiwan looks forward to boosting cooperation with fellow democracies to “jointly create a resilient democratic alliance,” President Tsai told Beer, adding that Taiwan could share its experiences of being on the front line for the defense of democracy.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202207190007
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202207200009
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/07/21/2003782135

Ex-Pentagon Chief Esper: U.S. Should Move Away From “Strategic Ambiguity” and Re-Examine “One China Policy”

The U.S. should move from “strategic ambiguity” to “strategic clarity” on Taiwan’s defense and re-examine its “One China Policy,” former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said during a meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on July 19.

“It is my personal view that the [U.S.] ‘One China Policy’ has outlived its usefulness and that it is time to move away from strategic ambiguity,” Esper told Tsai, referring to the long-standing policy which allows the U.S. to remain vague about any possible response in the event China attacks Taiwan.

Esper, who currently serves on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, said he thought it is “important that we begin that national discussion back in the United States.”

At the same time, Esper encouraged Taiwan’s government to make “bold decisions” to show the American public and Washington’s leaders that Taiwan’s people were “fully committed to standing up to Communist China and defending themselves.”

According to Esper, this would include significantly increasing Taiwan’s defense spending, adopting asymmetric warfare, lengthening conscription, and improving reserve mobilization.

Esper, who led a delegation from the Atlantic Council, arrived Taiwan on July 18 for a four-day visit. In addition to Tsai, the former defense secretary met with Taiwan’s national security officials and political party leaders to address urgent cross-Taiwan Strait security issues.

On July 19, Esper also told a news conference hosted by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the U.S. “One China Policy” would not be “sufficient and sturdy enough to bear the weight of the future policies and strategies we need to pursue to avoid conflicts in the Taiwan Strait.”

“We cannot allow the Chinese to rise within the international system and try to dismantle it to suit their own ends, means and values,” Esper said, adding that much has changed since the “One China Policy” was articulated in the 1970s.

“A majority of the people in Taiwan identify themselves as Taiwanese and they do not believe Taiwan is part of China,” he said. 

“Taiwan is now a thriving democracy with multiple transitions of power in over 20 years. It has a robust economy with two competing political parties. For all those reasons, we need to have a discussion within the U.S. about what our policy is going forward, not one that was built on the architecture of the past.”

Moreover, the U.S. needs to broaden its partnerships with allies to make sure Taiwan is not left to itself to deter China, Esper said.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202207190010
[2] Taipei Times: https://taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/07/20/2003782072

U.S. Approves US$108M Sale of Tank Equipment and Logistical Support to Taiwan

The U.S. government has approved a proposed sale to Taiwan with US$108 million worth of equipment and related support for tanks and combat vehicles ― the fifth U.S. arms package to Taiwan approved under President Biden.

The sale will enhance the ability of Taiwan’s armed forces to “meet current and future threats” by contributing to the maintenance of their “vehicles, small arms, combat weapon systems, and logistical support items,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a press statement on July 15.

The items will include unclassified replacement and spare parts for tanks and combat vehicles, while the U.S. will also provide technical, logistical and other relevant forms of support, the DSCA said.

The agency said it had notified Congress on July 15 of the proposed sale, after it was approved by the State Department.

Estimated at US$108 million, the deal will help Taiwan to “modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” while enhancing its interoperability with the U.S. and other partners, the DSCA said.

On July 16, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said the proposed deal will help the Taiwanese Army to maintain an adequate supply of equipment and spare parts for its military vehicles and will support its combat readiness training, amid “increasing military threats” from China.

Taiwan’s Presidential Office thanked the U.S. for approving the arms deal, saying it was the fifth such sale to Taiwan that Washington has announced since President Joe Biden took office in January last year, and the fourth this year. This demonstrated the U.S.’ commitment to enhance Taiwan’s security.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202207160002
[2] Taipei Times: https://taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/07/17/2003781886