1013: “Strategic Ambiguity” Has Never Been a “Policy”; Tsai Urges China to Respect Taiwan’s Sovereignty; US Lawmakers Reaffirm Commitment

AIT Chairman Moriarty: No Document Says That U.S. Has a “Policy” of “Strategic Ambiguity” Toward Taiwan

“Strategic ambiguity” has never been a U.S. “policy” toward Taiwan, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty said in Washington on October 5, adding that President Joe Biden’s recent remarks that the U.S. would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion are consistent with U.S. policy.

The original documents that guide the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, including the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances, “make it clear that we have to do something if there is an attempt to change Taiwan’s status by force,” Moriarty said.

Responding to the question whether the U.S. would come to Taiwan’s defense if China invaded, Moriarty suggested everybody “read the three communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act,” saying that “there is a fairly strong commitment” made by the U.S. to defend Taiwan contained in those documents.

There is nothing in those documents saying that the U.S. has a policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, said Moriarty.

“It’s never been a policy. It’s a description of what we do with respect to Taiwan,” he added.

Moriarty said that the U.S. was opposed to any unilateral changes to the Taiwan Strait status quo and expected cross-strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means, as Biden reiterated at the U.N. General Assembly last month.

“While our policy has not changed, what has changed is Beijing’s growing coercion and its increasing military, economic, diplomatic and technological power to engage in such coercion [against Taiwan],” Moriarty noted.

Under the leadership of People’s Republic of China (PRC) President Xi Jinping, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has become “more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad,” he said.

The AIT chairman also noted that China has used economic coercion to cut off Taiwan’s relations with countries around the world and has been intensifying its pressure campaign to “misrepresent and misuse” UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 to preclude Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the U.N. system.

“In short, the PRC words and actions are deeply destabilizing. They risk miscalculation and threaten the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” said Moriarty.

Maintaining Taiwan Strait peace and stability is not just a U.S. interest but a matter of international concern and critical to regional and global security and prosperity, he said, citing the importance of the Taiwan Strait being a key international trade route as an example.

The U.S. will continue to fulfill its commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to ensure that Taiwan has the capability it needs to defend itself and to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize Taiwan’s security, economy, or society, Moriarty said.

Looking forwards, Moriarty said the U.S. will proceed with efforts to increase the economic benefits of the bilateral trading relationship with Taiwan, to deepen engagement with its partners in support of Taiwan internationally, and to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202210060017

Taiwan President Tsai Urges China to Respect Taiwan’s Sovereignty and Avoid Armed Confrontation

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen called on China to respect Taiwan’s sovereignty and avoid armed confrontation in her speech on October 10. She added that her government is willing to work with Beijing to find a “mutually agreeable arrangement” to uphold cross-strait peace and stability, provided that there is “rationality, equality, and mutual respect.”

“Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is the basis for the development of cross-strait relations,” Tsai said in her address.

“It is regrettable that, in recent years, the Beijing authorities’ escalation of their military intimidations, diplomatic pressure, trade obstructions, and attempts to erase the sovereignty of [Taiwan] have threatened the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region,” she added.

“During the past 73 years [since1949], the people of Taiwan have lived and grown together on this land, and have formed our own strong sense of identity and belonging,” Tsai said.

“The broadest consensus among the Taiwanese people and our various political parties is that we must defend our national sovereignty and our free and democratic way of life. On this point, we have no room for compromise,” she emphasized.

“I want to make clear to the Beijing authorities that armed confrontation is absolutely not an option for our two sides,” Tsai said.

“Only by respecting the commitment of the Taiwanese people to our sovereignty, democracy, and freedom, can there be a foundation for resuming constructive interaction across the Taiwan Strait,” she added.

“We look forward to the gradual resumption of healthy and orderly cross-strait people-to-people exchanges after the loosening of [COVID-19] border restrictions on both sides, thereby easing tensions in the Taiwan Strait,” she said.

Tsai added that her government is “willing to work with Beijing authorities to find a mutual arrangement to uphold peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” provided that negotiations are conducted with “rationality, equality, and mutual respect.”

Tsai also pledged to improve Taiwan’s resilience in four key areas during the remaining two years of her term in office: national defense, economy and industry, social welfare, and a free and democratic government system.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202210100005
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/10/11/2003786798

Visiting U.S. Lawmakers Reaffirm Commitment to Taiwan and Indo-Pacific Security

The U.S.’ commitment to the security of the Indo-Pacific region is “stronger than ever,” visiting U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said during a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on October 12.

“I am in Taiwan … to remind the world that our commitment and shared responsibility for a free and secure Indo-Pacific region remains stronger than ever,” said Rep. Johnson, who arrived in Taiwan on October 9 for a four-day visit.

Describing Taiwan as “a vital trading partner” for the U.S. and its allies, Johnson, who serves as chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology Committee, said the U.S.-Taiwan relationship is “essential to our national and economic security.”

Also joining Johnson in the meeting with President Tsai were four other U.S. House Representatives who arrived in Taiwan on October 11 for a three-day visit, including Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Kai Kahele (D-HI), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), and Michael Waltz (R-FL).

Echoing Johnson’s comments, Moulton said the relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. is founded on the shared values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

“We look forward to strengthening and deepening the economic partnership between Taiwan and America,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tsai said that Taiwan was willing to further deepen cooperation with the U.S. and all democratic partners to contribute to regional and global peace and stability.

She also expressed hope that the visiting U.S. lawmakers would continue to support Taiwan in the U.S. Congress and back the signing of a double taxation avoidance agreement between Taiwan and the U.S.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance said in July that Taiwan and the U.S. had inked taxation-related deals, such as a transportation income tax agreement in 1988.

However, the two countries have not entered into a comprehensive and reciprocal tax treaty that includes the reduction or elimination of double taxation on individuals and businesses with operations in each other’s country, the ministry said.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202210120005
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2022/10/13/2003786929