0929: Taiwan Policy Act; Accelerating Arms Transfers to Taiwan Act; Attack on Taiwan “Devastating”; The “Reality” of Taiwan’s Independence

House Version of “Taiwan Policy Act” Introduced to Support Taiwan’s Defense

On September 28, Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) and 36 of his colleagues introduced the House version of the “Taiwan Policy Act” (TPA), with the aim to “strengthen Taiwan’s defense and deter the aggression of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”

In a press release, Rep. McCaul, the lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the China Task Force, said this legislation will establish a comprehensive set of tools to increase Taiwan’s military capabilities to deter and defeat a CCP attack, modernize U.S. policy towards Taiwan, increase the U.S.’ strategic clarity towards a CCP invasion, strengthen U.S.-Taiwan bilateral relations, and support Taiwan internationally.

“Taiwan is a critical national security partner for the United States whose democracy is under an unprecedented level of threat from the CCP,” said McCaul, adding that “[now] is the time to arm our ally — before an invasion occurs, not after.”

McCaul said he was proud to introduce this important legislation with 36 colleagues “to help improve Taiwan’s defense immediately.” “Deterrence is key to stopping the CCP from provoking a conflict that would seriously harm U.S. national security,” he added.

The proposed House bill came after the Senate version of the “Taiwan Policy Act of 2022” (S.4428), which was introduced by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 14, after some modifications.

Among the changes, the Senate bill will now express that Congress recommends, but not requires, the administration to negotiate changing the name of Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the U.S. from the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” (TECRO) to the “Taiwan Representative Office” (TRO). The original version of the legislation directs the secretary of State to negotiate the name change.

The Senate panel also removed a provision of the bill that would require Senate confirmation for the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) director.

The House version of the TPA introduced on September 28 keeps the Senate version’s original proposal to rename TECRO as the “Taiwan Representative Office” and elevates the AIT director, the top U.S. diplomat in Taiwan, with Senate confirmation.

The House bill also includes clauses of authorizing up to US$6.5 billion in Foreign Military Financing over five fiscal years to Taiwan and expressing support for a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement (FTA), as its Senate counterpart.

(A summary of the House version of the TPA can be found HERE)

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202209290007
[2] Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4671892

“Accelerating Arms Transfers to Taiwan Act” Introduced in the House to Create War Reserve Stockpile for Taiwan

On September 15, Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced the “Accelerating Arms Transfers to Taiwan Act” (H.R.8842) to expedite the transfer and delivery of weapons to Taiwan and allow the creation of a war reserve stockpile in Taiwan for better defense in the event of a Chinese attack.

According to a statement issued by Rep. Chabot, a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the draft bill would make Taiwan eligible for priority delivery of excess defense articles, require the U.S. Secretary of Defense to use the Special Defense Acquisition Fund (SDAF) to accelerate weapons procurement for Taiwan, and authorize the creation of a war reserve stockpile on Taiwan.

“Taiwan faces an existential threat from the People’s Republic of China, a threat which the Taiwan Relations Act recognizes has profound implications for American interests in the Indo-Pacific,” Chabot said in the statement.

“Yet neither Taiwan nor the United States have treated the problem with sufficient urgency,” he said. “The Ukraine model of weapons deliveries after an invasion starts is just not viable for the defense of an island.”

This bill will help speed up the transfer and delivery of those weapons, so that “Taiwan could be prepared before it is too late,” Chabot said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Sherman, a senior member of the Subcommittee on Asia, said “America’s resolve to preserve democracy, in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”

The proposed bill “reaffirms this determination as our ally faces growing threats,” Sherman said. “As a member of the Taiwan Congressional Caucus and a long time champion in supporting Taiwan, I’m proud to join Rep. Chabot in this crucial effort to uphold and defend Taiwan’s democracy.”

(Read the bill HERE, and a section-by-section summary HERE)

[1] Rep. Steve Chabot’s Office: https://chabot.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=401304
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202209220033
[3] Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4665118

Blinken: Attack on Taiwan Could Devastate Global Economy

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that if Taiwan is attacked, the global economy would face devastation as most semiconductors in the world are produced there.

In an interview with Scott Pelly on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired on September 25, Blinken was asked whether instability across the Taiwan Strait would be felt around the world.

The top American diplomat said that “China has acted increasingly aggressively” against Taiwan, posing “a threat to peace and stability in the entire region,” while economically the whole world could feel the impact of such aggression.

Blinken was interviewed for the CBS’s program after meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held in New York on September 23.

According to Blinken, the U.S. has invested heavily in its semiconductor capacity with American firms designing the chips, but they are mainly produced in Taiwan.

“Taiwan itself, were anything to happen, it is where virtually all the semiconductors are made,” Blinken said.

“If that’s disrupted, the effects that that would have on the global economy could be devastating.”

In a pre-recorded interview with the same CBS’s “60 Minutes” program that aired on September 18, U.S. President Joe Biden told Pelley that the U.S. would defend Taiwan “if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”

When Blinken was asked whether Wang requested clarification of Biden’s remarks when they met, he told Pelly that he and his Chinese counterpart had a conversion about the two different approaches toward Taiwan.

“I reiterated what the president has said, and what he’s said clearly and consistently — our continued adherence to the ‘One China Policy,’ our determination that the differences be resolved peacefully,” Blinken said.

“Our insistence that peace and stability be maintained in the Taiwan Strait, and our deep concern that China was taking actions to try to change that status quo. That’s what the issue is,” Blinken added.

There’s too much to lose in the Taiwan Strait, Blinken said.

[1] CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/secretary-of-state-antony-blinken-president-biden-taiwan-60-minutes-2022-09-25/
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202209260009
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/09/27/2003785984

Pompeo: Taiwan Is Already Independent

On September 27, while visiting Taiwan for the second time this year, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the U.S. to change its terms of engagement with China and build even closer ties with Taiwan, while emphasizing the “reality” of Taiwan’s independence. 

In his speech in Kaohsiung, Pompeo repeated his support for Taiwan as an independent sovereign country.

“Taiwan does not need to declare its independence, because it is already an independent nation,” Pompeo said.

“One of the things from my time as secretary of state I was most proud of is that I moved the people of the United States and our government closer to recognizing this simple political, diplomatic and sovereign reality,” he said.

Pompeo also called for a different form of U.S. engagement with China in the future and a recalibration of ties toward Taiwan, while arguing it was wrong to exclude Taiwan from the U.S. led “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” (IPEF).

“If we want a free 21st century and not a Chinese century, the century which [Chinese President] Xi Jinping dreams of, the old paradigm of blind engagement must end,” he said.

“America must choose instead to engage with China realistically and on our terms, the terms of freedom. This includes a deeper and far more enthusiastic relationship with Taiwan,” he added.

When he was last in Taiwan in March 2022, Pompeo also called on the U.S. government to diplomatically recognize Taiwan as a “free and sovereign country.”

“This is not about Taiwan’s future independence. It is about recognizing an unmistakable, already existent reality. That reality is … there is no need for Taiwan to declare independence because it’s already an independent country,” Pompeo said during his March 4 speech in Taipei.

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/09/28/2003786046
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202209270009
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/03/05/2003774214