2023-0427: Bill Introduced to Counter Chinese Cyber Threats Against Taiwan; New Trade Office, MOU to Strengthen Virginia Ties with Taiwan

U.S. Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Counter Chinese Cyber Threats Against Taiwan

On April 20, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) introduced the bipartisan and bicameral “Taiwan Cybersecurity Resiliency Act” (S.1241 & H.R.2756), which would require the Pentagon to expand cybersecurity cooperation with Taiwan to help them counter cyber threats from China.

The bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct cybersecurity training exercises with Taiwan; defend the country’s military networks, infrastructure, and systems; leverage U.S. cybersecurity technologies to help defend Taiwan; and eradicate ongoing malicious cyber activity targeting Taiwan.

“We must push back on the Chinese Communist Party’s growing aggression, and its attempts to undermine democracy around the world — including through hostile cyber actions. All too often, we’ve seen Taiwan used as a testing ground for China’s cyberattacks later used against the United States,” said Sen. Rosen, a former computer programmer.

“Taiwan’s security is vital to our own [U.S.] national security,” Sen. Rounds said, adding that “Strengthening Taiwan’s military cyber capabilities is one of multiple measures needed to build Taiwan into a well-armed porcupine.”

“This bill helps arm Taiwan to the teeth in the cyber domain by strengthening Taiwan’s cyber forces and building an even stronger partnership between our two countries,” said Rep. Gallagher, who warned that China “has already launched an attack on Taiwan in cyberspace” and that Chinese cyberattacks could have “devastating” effects.

Rep. Houlahan, who referred to Taiwan as “a close ally and important strategic partner,” said “Taiwan’s critical infrastructure resilience is absolutely imperative to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

However, legislation related to U.S. national security is rarely passed as a standalone bill, defense-focused news Web site Breaking Defense said, adding that the bill would most likely be seriously considered later this year “when lawmakers begin drafting the annual defense policy and spending bills.”

Meanwhile, also on April 20, in testimony to lawmakers on possible cybersecurity cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan, John Aquilino, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said it was a priority to enhance cybersecurity capabilities between the U.S. and its allies in the region.

[1] Sen. Jacky Rosen’s Office:
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202304210011
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/04/22/2003798398

New Trade Office, MOU to Strengthen Virginia Ties with Taiwan: Governor Youngkin

The opening of a trade office in Taiwan and the signing of an economic and trade cooperation pact will make the Virginia-Taiwan ties even stronger, visiting Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said on April 25, as he concluded a two-day visit to Taiwan.

Youngkin announced that he had approved the establishment of a Virginia trade office in Taiwan on April 24, and then signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on economic and trade cooperation with the nation on April 25.

Speaking at a press event after the MOU signing, Youngkin said the moves “will build on an already strong relationship.”

“And I have very high aspirations that Virginia and Taiwan will have a great future both economically and in partnership going forward,” he said.

Asked about his two-day trip to Taiwan before heading to Japan and South Korea, his first international trade mission since taking office as governor in January 2022, Youngkin said his mission “could not begin in a more appropriate place.”

He said the aim of traveling to the three Asian destinations was to bolster cooperation with “trusted partners” in supply chains in key industries, such as semiconductors, electric vehicle batteries and storage, automotive supplies, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

“These are critical supply chains for our collective future, and ones that I believe we must continue to forge with trusted partners. That’s why I’m here [in Taiwan],” he said.

Youngkin signed the MOU with Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi at a ceremony in Taipei.

The MOU would be the starting point to further strengthen cooperation of the fields of economic and trade, and open a new chapter in Taiwan-Virginia relations, Chen said.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202304250013
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2023/04/26/2003798638