0728: Pelosi’s Taiwan Trip Urged; Japan’s Defense Paper Highlights Taiwan

U.S. Lawmakers Urge Pelosi to Visit Taiwan, End “Outdated” One China Policy

Two U.S. lawmakers have urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to proceed with her planned trip to Taiwan and convene a floor vote to pass a resolution to end the “outdated” One China Policy and to normalize U.S.-Taiwan ties.

In a joint letter to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dated July 22, House Representatives Tom Tiffany (R-WI) and Scott Perry (R-PA) urged the Speaker to “reject the objections of China’s rulers” against her planned trip to Taiwan.

“As the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, you should never have to ask a foreign dictatorship or the State Department for permission to talk to America’s friends and allies,” they wrote.

Also in the letter, Tiffany and Perry asked Pelosi to consider sending an even stronger message of support for deeper U.S.-Taiwan relations by scheduling a floor vote on a resolution (H.Con.Res.21) which “calls for an end to the outdated and nonsensical ‘One China Policy,’ and the normalization of U.S.-Taiwan ties.”

They said a growing number of experts — from former Defense Secretary Mark Esper to President Obama’s former envoy to Taiwan, William Stanton — have recently cast doubt on the utility of this “counter-productive” One China policy.

They pointed out that the decision for the U.S. to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China (and cut off official ties with Taiwan) in 1979 was “predicated on Beijing’s commitment to resolve its differences with Taiwan peacefully.”

However, nearly a half-century on, “Chinese officials routinely threaten to annex Taiwan by force,” and so far this year, China has sent its warplanes cross into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) nearly 600 times — showing clearly that China has ignored “this foundational assurance.”

“The world has undergone dramatic changes since the days of Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Taiwan has become a vibrant, multi-party democracy, while China has become more oppressive, more belligerent, and more dangerous,” they said.

“Yet America’s policy framework [towards Taiwan and China] remains on autopilot, frozen in a 1970’s time warp. It is time for Congress to revisit this [One China] policy and have an open and honest debate about how best to modernize it,” they concluded.

In addition to Tiffany and Perry, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) also called on Pelosi not to bow to China. “If you cancel this trip [to Taiwan], it will show further weakness on the world stage and play into the hands of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). America must stand up to the CCP,” Fitzpatrick said on July 24.

Meanwhile, Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) also tweeted that Communist China cannot dictate who in America can visit Taiwan.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who visited Taiwan in March, said he was willing to go with Pelosi to Taiwan. “Nancy, I’ll go with you. I’m banned in China, but not freedom-loving Taiwan. See you there!” Pompeo tweeted.

China has threatened “serious consequences” if Pelosi were to proceed with her visit to Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said that China would respond with “firm and resolute measures,” while Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Tan Kefei said that “the Chinese military will never sit idle and will take strong measures to thwart any external interference” in Taiwan.

Should the reported trip be confirmed, Pelosi will be the first sitting U.S. House Speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997, when her predecessor, Newt Gingrich of the Republican party, traveled to Taiwan and met with then-President Lee Teng-hui during another period in tense cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202207250013
[2] Taipei Times: https://taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/07/26/2003782433
[3] BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-62310576

Japan’s Defense White Paper Highlights Taiwan, Calling Taiwan “An Extremely Important Partner”

On July 22, Japan released its annual defense white paper, which refers to Taiwan as “an extremely important partner for Japan.” The paper also has a significantly wider coverage of the Taiwan issue than the one released last year.

The document, titled “Defense of Japan 2022,” stresses that Japan and Taiwan share the same fundamental values such as freedom and democracy, and that “the stability of the situation surrounding Taiwan is also critical for Japan’s security.”

On the issue of Taiwan’s self-defense, the report says the overall military balance is tilting in China’s favor, and the gap appears to be growing each year.

Therefore, the Taiwan issue “must be closely monitored with a sense of urgency while cooperating with the international community, based on the recognition that changes to the status quo by coercion are globally shared challenges,” the English version of the report states.

Meanwhile, the conflict between China and the United States is also becoming prominent, partly due to the Taiwan issue, the paper says. It continues to describe China as a “strong security concern,” adding that the risk posed by Beijing “is intensifying in recent years.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet approved the 500-page defense white paper — the second published under Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi that gives substantial attention to Taiwan issues.

Last year’s edition, for the first time, separated Taiwan from a chapter devoted to China and placed it in a section on China-U.S. relations. This year’s edition includes ten pages on Taiwan, double the length of last year’s report.

This year’s defense paper comes as Kishida’s government pledges to bolster Japan’s military capability and budget under a revised national security strategy and basic defense guidelines that are planned for release later this year.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202207220011
[2] Taipei Times: https://taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/07/23/2003782255
[3] The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/22/japan-sees-increasing-threat-to-taiwan-amid-russias-invasion-of-ukraine