2023-0824: U.S.-Japan-S. Korea Commitment to Cross-Taiwan Strait Peace; U.S. Lawmakers Condemn PARLACEN for Expelling Taiwan

U.S., Japan, South Korea Reaffirm Commitment to Cross-Taiwan Strait Peace

On August 18, the leaders of the United States, Japan, and South Korea reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait following a historic trilateral summit at Camp David in Maryland.

“Today, we’ve reaffirmed — all reaffirmed our shared commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” U.S. President Joe Biden said at a press conference after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

The first-ever standalone summit between Biden, Kishida, and Yoon, focused on security, economic, and technology cooperation among the three countries.

The three countries agreed to engage in annual multi-domain military exercises, improve their information sharing, and strengthen ballistic missile defense cooperation, Biden said.

He said they would establish a communications hotline to discuss responses to threats, while the leaders also agreed to hold summits every year.

“Our countries are stronger and the world will be safer as we stand together, and I know this is a belief that all three share,” Biden said in a joint press conference before the trilateral meeting, praising the “political courage” of Kishida and Yoon in turning the page on historical animosity.

Three documents were issued after the summit: the Commitment to Consult, the Camp David Principles, and the Spirit of Camp David.

“We reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element of security and prosperity in the international community,” the leaders said in the latter two documents, adding that “we call for a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.”

“The purpose of our trilateral security cooperation is and will remain to promote and enhance peace and stability throughout the region,” the Camp David Principles said.

While noting China’s “dangerous and aggressive” actions in the South China Sea, the document said the three countries “strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the waters of the Indo-Pacific.”

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202308190010
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/08/20/2003805004

U.S. Lawmakers Condemn Central American Parliament’s Decision to Expel Taiwan and Admit China as Permanent Observer

On August 22, U.S. lawmakers across party lines condemned a parliamentary body in Central America, known by its Spanish acronym PARLACEN, for its decision to replace Taiwan with China as a permanent observer in the wake of most of the organization’s members switching diplomatic recognition to China.

In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, said that the decision to revoke Taiwan’s permanent observer status in the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) was “a condemnable attack on democracy.”

“Taiwan is a key democratic ally and partner of the U.S., and it is crucial that the Biden Admin support and promote Taiwan’s rightful position on the international stage,” Diaz-Balart wrote.

Earlier on August 22, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) also condemned the decision and announced Taiwan’s withdrawal with immediate effect from the PARLACEN to uphold the country’s sovereignty and dignity.

Taiwan’s withdrawal came in the wake of the organization’s approval — following a vote of 73-32 with nine abstentions — of a proposal by the Nicaraguan parliamentary group to exclude Taiwan and include China as a permanent observer in the PARLACEN during a plenary assembly in Nicaragua on August 21.

The PARLACEN, ostensibly citing the 1971 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2758, issued a statement saying that it deemed Taiwan to be a “province of mainland China, which disqualifies it from participating as an independent country.”

Taiwan’s MOFA issued a statement condemning Nicaragua’s authoritarian regime for willingly serving as a Chinese pawn, misusing the UNGA 2758 Resolution, and manipulating the false narrative of the so-called “One China Principle” to deprive Taiwan of its rights in the PARLACEN.

MOFA reiterated that Taiwan is a “sovereign and independent country,” and that neither Taiwan nor the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are subordinate to the other.

The Central American Parliament (PARLACEN), which was set up in 1991, has six member countries: Guatemala, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua. Taiwan joined the parliamentary body as a permanent observer in 1999.

Guatemala, where the parliament is based, is the only member that still has official ties with Taiwan. The others have all switched diplomatic recognition to the PRC in recent years.

Echoing Rep. Diaz-Balart, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said that the United States should continue to stand by Taiwan to tackle the growing influence of China worldwide.

U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, also issued a joint statement condemning PARLACEN for its decision “to expel Taiwan’s parliament and admit China’s rubber-stamp parliament as a permanent observer of the organization.”

Central America was once Taiwan’s staunchest base of diplomatic support, with all seven countries still maintaining diplomatic ties with Taiwan as of 2006.

However, Costa Rica severed ties in 2007, followed by Panama, El Salvador, and Nicaragua in 2017, 2018, and 2021, respectively.

Following Honduras’ decision to cut ties with Taiwan in March, 2023, Guatemala and Belize are the only two countries in Central America to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202308230009
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2023/08/24/2003805216
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/08/23/2003805145