2023-0119: No Need to Declare Taiwan Independence, Lai Says; U.S., Japan Reiterate Importance of Taiwan Strait Peace; Sen. Young Visits Taiwan

No Need to Declare Taiwan Independence, As Taiwan Is Already Independent: New DPP Chair Lai

Taiwan has no need to declare its independence since Taiwan is already an independent sovereign country, Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai (or Lai Ching-te) said at his swearing in as chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on January 18.

Lai, who is regarded as the frontrunner to secure the DPP’s nomination for next year’s Taiwan presidential election, made the remarks after being asked to elaborate on how he identifies himself as a “pragmatic worker for Taiwan independence.”

“I would like to reiterate that Taiwan is already an independent and sovereign country and thus we do not have a need to further declare Taiwan independence,” Lai said.

The sovereignty of Taiwan and that of the People’s Republic of China are not subordinate to each other, and the future of Taiwan can only be decided by the 23 million people of Taiwan, he emphasized.

Lai vowed that the DPP under his leadership will continue to uphold the commitments made by President Tsai Ing-wen to safeguard Taiwan’s free and democratic constitutional system, ensure Taiwan and China are not subordinate to each other, resist annexation or encroachment upon Taiwan’s sovereignty, and secure the rights of all Taiwanese to determine the future of the nation.

Lai also pledged to lead the DPP in following Tsai’s approach on cross-Taiwan Strait issues and to do his utmost to maintain the “status quo” of regional peace and stability.

China’s constant rhetorical attacks, military threats and efforts to alter the status quo are to blame for the rise in cross-strait tensions, he added.

Lai, 63, won the DPP’s uncontested chairmanship election on January 15.

It is believed that being chairperson of the party could work to Lai’s advantage as he prepares for a widely anticipated presidential bid in 2024.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202301180018
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/01/19/2003792832

U.S., Japan Reiterate Importance of Maintaining Peace Across Taiwan Strait

On January 13, the United States and Japan reiterated that maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is an indispensable element of security and prosperity in the international community.

A U.S.-Japan joint statement was released by the White House after a meeting in Washington D.C. between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss the U.S.-Japan alliance and security issues, including the possible conflicts in the Taiwan Strait.

“We emphasize that our basic positions on Taiwan remain unchanged, and reiterate the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element of security and prosperity in the international community,” the statement said.

“We encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues,” it added.

During the meeting, Biden and Kishida reaffirmed that their alliance remains the cornerstone of peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

The two leaders also exchanged their views about the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a U.S.-led multilateral partnership involving 13 other countries that has been touted as a bulwark against China’s growing economic influence in the region.

FAPA President Minze Chien reacts: “Since Taiwan is a major economy in the Indo-Pacific region, we strongly believe that Taiwan should be invited to join the IPEF. Like-minded countries sharing the universal values of democracy, freedom and rule of law should deepen economic and trade cooperation to create more secure and resilient supply chains and jointly counter economic expansion and coercion by authoritarian nations.”

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/01/15/2003792618

Sen. Young Visits Taiwan to Bolster U.S-Taiwan Chip Ties

On January 17, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN), who is one of the initiators of the CHIPS and Science Act, said in Taipei that he planned to learn more about Taiwan’s semiconductor industry and promote closer links between the two countries during his three-day trip to Taiwan.

During his meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on January 17, Sen. Young said that his visit to Taiwan from January 16-18 had several purposes, one being to reassure that “Republicans and Democrats and the United States Congress intend to continue to do whatever we can to support, to broaden, to strengthen, and deepen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship.”

As one of the sponsors of the CHIPS and Science Act, which was signed into law by President Joe Bide to boost U.S. domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors and counter China, Young said that he also wanted to learn more about Taiwan’s semiconductor industry.

“I’m here to learn more about how we can continue to do [chip cooperation], so we can sell more chips, employ more people, create more opportunities and [promote] more linkages between the U.S. and Taiwan and many other countries moving forward. That will benefit all of us,” he added.

President Tsai, meanwhile, praised Sen. Young for being one of Taiwan’s strongest supporters in the U.S. Congress by backing Taiwan’s international participation.

“Facing authoritarian expansion and post-COVID-19-pandemic economic challenges, like-minded partners need to build a sustainable supply chain for democracy chips. This will help the economies of Taiwan, the U.S., and the world to continue to prosper and develop,” she said.

Tsai also called on Young to advocate for the possible signing of a Taiwan-U.S. agreement on the avoidance of double taxation to create more opportunities for industries and talent from both countries to engage in exchange.

Sen. Young’s visit is the latest in a spate of foreign delegations to Taiwan intended to strengthen economic and security ties, with congressional delegations from Germany, Lithuania, and Spain arriving last week.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202301170007
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2023/01/18/2003792798