0804: FAPA Lauds Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit; China’s Live-Fire Drills Around Taiwan; G7-EU Joint Statement on Preserving Peace in Taiwan Strait

FAPA Lauds Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit — Calls for Enactment of “Taiwan Policy Act”

On August 2, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) led a Congressional delegation to Taiwan to “[honor] America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” despite China’s warnings and threats not to visit the country.

“America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement shortly after landing Taiwan.

The trip made Pelosi the first sitting U.S. House speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997, when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) traveled to Taipei and met with then-President Lee Teng-hui.

On August 3, Speaker Pelosi’s delegation visited Taiwan’s legislature and met with President Tsai Ing-wen. “Forty-two years ago, America made a bedrock promise to always stand with Taiwan,” Pelosi told Tsai, referring to the U.S.’ Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

“On this strong foundation, we have built a thriving partnership grounded in our shared values of self-government and self-determination,” with a focus on mutual security interests and economic ties, she added.

Towards the end of her trip, Speaker Pelosi stated that her visit was intended to make it “unequivocally clear” that the United States would “not abandon” democratically governed Taiwan. She pledged “ironclad support” for Taiwan.

During the speaker’s visit, China announced a series of live-fire drills around Taiwan, dispatched warships off Taiwan’s Lanyu Island, launched cyber-attacks against Taiwan’s government facilities and convenience store branches, and blacklisted over 100 Taiwanese food brands.

FAPA President Minze Chien reacts: “Pelosi’s visit is completely consistent with the U.S. robust but unofficial relationship with this beacon of democracy and free market that Taiwan is. Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the U.S. pledged to support Taiwan’s freedom, democracy, and self-determination, and to maintain Taiwan’s peace, stability, and status quo — which undoubtedly has been that of an independent sovereign country for decades. We must never allow China to deprive the free will of the Taiwanese people and dictate the future of Taiwan by military force.”

“With Speaker Pelosi’s trip, it is very gratifying for us Taiwanese Americans to see this further implementation of the 2018 Taiwan Travel Act and a further loosening of restrictions on U.S. high-level visits to and from Taiwan. Next, it behooves the U.S. Congress to invite Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to Washington, DC, to share with members of Congress and with the American public her views on the best ever U.S.-Taiwan relations in history that we witness today.”

Dr. Chien adds: “Pelosi’s visit also marks a further hollowing out of the U.S. ‘One China Policy,’ which is clearly on the road towards becoming impossible to continue to adhere to. This relic of the Cold War is dangerous, confusing, and misleading. Why? In it, the U.S. acknowledges the Chinese claim over Taiwan. The U.S. and the rest of the world should have ZERO tolerance for China’s territorial claim over Taiwan. The time to abolish the One China Policy is NOW.”

“The bottom line is that Taiwan is NOT a part of China. Taiwan and China today are two separate sovereign countries. And it is the wish of the people of Taiwan to maintain their own independence and statehood, and to live with its giant neighbor across the Taiwan Strait as friendly neighbors.”

Dr. Chien urges: “We therefore call upon both Houses of Congress and the President to enact the Taiwan Policy Act (TPA) that was introduced in the Senate on June 16. The TPA encompasses several measures that will enhance U.S.-Taiwan relations, and that will help Taiwan become a more normal country. The Act will lend further dignity and respect to the peace-loving people of Taiwan. With China holding blockade-like live-fire drills encircling Taiwan from August 4-7, it is all the more pertinent TODAY that the U.S. signals to China that it needs to cease its completely uncalled for intimidation tactics.” 

Dr. Chien concludes: “Taiwanese Americans are very grateful to Speaker Pelosi and her delegation. Taiwanese and Taiwanese Americans will look back on her groundbreaking Taiwan trip for generations to come. Let me therefore give the final word to Speaker Pelosi: ‘We must never give in to autocrats!’”

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/08/03/2003782880
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202208030013
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/08/04/2003782939

China Holds Drills and Fires Missiles Into Waters Near Taiwan

Shortly after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei on August 2, China announced plans to hold live-fire drills in six maritime areas near Taiwan, parts of which encroach on Taiwan’s territorial waters. The Chinese drills would take place from August 4 to 7, after Pelosi concluded her Taiwan visit on August 3.

On August 3, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) blasted China’s planned drills, saying that is an attempt to “blockade” the country with live-fire operations at sea and in the air.

China’s planned military exercises are also an infringement of Taiwan’s sovereignty and a violation of international laws, as the designated areas either extend to Taiwan’s territorial waters or are very close to them, the MND said.

Taiwan’s military will never seek to start a war or escalate any conflicts, but it is always prepared for combat, the MDN said, adding that the military can and will defend Taiwan’s territory, and it will also take action to stop any invasive operations.

Based on the locations of the planned drills and the positioning of the U.S. carrier strike group near Taiwan, Beijing and Washington are set to adopt the same strategy they did during the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1996, according to a Taiwanese scholar.

Where the current situation differs from the 1996 crisis is that several of China’s planned drills are very close to and some even border Taiwan’s territorial sea, which is an unprecedented maneuver and a break with standard practice, the scholar added.

On August 4, Taiwan’s MND confirmed that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fired multiple Dongfeng ballistic missiles into waters near northeastern and southwestern parts of Taiwan.

The Dongfeng series includes a range of short, medium, intermediate-range, and intercontinental ballistic missiles operated by the PLA.

The MND said it had “instant knowledge” of the PLA’s missile launching activities thanks to surveillance and reconnaissance, and that it continued to strengthen its defense systems and combat readiness.

Taiwan government condemned China’s “irrational” military actions that have jeopardized the safety of international waterways, broke the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and endangered regional peace and security.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202208030018
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202208030025
[3] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202208040010

G7, EU Urge China to Refrain From “Aggressive Military Activity” Against Taiwan

The Group of Seven (G7) leading industrial nations and the European Union (EU) have called on China to refrain from “aggressive military activity” in the Taiwan Strait, after China said it would hold live-fire exercises near Taiwan starting August 4.

On August 3, G7 foreign ministers and the EU’s high representative for foreign and security policy issued a joint statement expressing concern about “threatening actions by the People’s Republic of China (PRC),” saying that live-fire exercises and punitive economic measures announced by Beijing risked “unnecessary escalation.”

“The PRC’s escalatory response risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region,” the joint statement said, adding there was “no justification to use a visit [i.e., Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan] as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait.”

The statement called on China “not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region” while reaffirming a “shared and steadfast commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters shortly after the release of the joint statement that there was no reason for China to turn Pelosi’s Taiwan visit into a crisis or use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait.

Asked what the G7 nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. — would do if China were to continue aggressive action, Jean-Pierre said that they would “monitor,” and “manage what Beijing chooses to do.”

In Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen thanked the G7 for “supporting regional peace and stability,” adding that Taiwan remained “committed to defending the status quo and our hard-earned democracy.”

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said that China should not “interfere in Taiwan’s friendly engagements with other countries.”

The MOFA urged the international community to support Taiwan as it works to safeguard its national sovereignty.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202208040007