2023-1005: U.K. Lawmakers Support Taiwan’s Right of Self-Determination; Taiwan Official Urges U.S. to Speed Up Arms Deliveries

Taiwan Has Right to Decide Its Own Future: U.K. Lawmaker

The U.K. House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Select Committee believes in self-determination and would respect whatever the people of Taiwan decide about their own future, the committee’s chairwoman Alicia Kearns told CNA in an interview.

Kearns was responding to a question on whether she supported the idea of the United Kingdom diplomatically recognizing Taiwan after her committee released a report in August that said “Taiwan is already an independent country.”

“I would very much like it if we were to move towards recognition of Taiwan. The committee, our report, we are very, very clear in what we want,” Kearns said, referring to formal recognition.

“Taiwan should be able to have that sovereignty that it seeks and deserves,” she said, adding that “It is all about supporting self-determination. It’s all about supporting what you [Taiwanese] want, and the rights that you deserve to have.”

“And therefore, my committee, because we believe in self-determination, will always respect what the people of Taiwan think is best for them,” she said.

The August 30 report, titled “Tilting horizons: the Integrated Review and the Indo-Pacific,” included Taiwan in its “countries” section, saying that “Taiwan is already an independent country.” 

“Taiwan possesses all the qualifications of statehood . . . it is only lacking greater international recognition,” the report said.

Like most countries, the U.K. maintains diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and only has unofficial ties with Taiwan.

Kearns said in the interview that the U.K.’s “One-China Policy” does not mean it agrees with Beijing’s position that Taiwan is a part of the PRC’s territory.

“We essentially acknowledge Beijing’s position. That doesn’t mean that we accept it. It doesn’t mean that we don’t think there are challenges around the ways that they see it,” she said.

Kearns said she was concerned that acknowledging Beijing’s position meant that some British officials were “overly cautious when it comes to their activities and their engagements with Taiwan.”

“The ambiguity that [it] creates is actually risking the full potential of our relationship between the U.K. and Taiwan,” she said.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202310040010
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/10/05/2003807230

Taiwan Official Urges U.S. to Speed Up Arms Deliveries and Help Taiwan Build TLCSM Capabilities

The U.S. should help Taiwan bolster its military self-reliance and speed up deliveries of weapons Taiwan has ordered, Taiwan Vice Defense Minister Hsu Yen-Pu said on October 2 at the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference held in Virginia.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), Hsu called on the U.S. government to help Taiwan with “total life cycle systems management” (TLCSM) of weapons and support systems purchased from the U.S.

TLCSM is a U.S. military term referring to the implementation, management, and oversight of all activities associated with the acquisition, development, production, fielding, sustainment, and disposal of a weapon system across its life cycle.

Taiwan relies heavily on the U.S. to maintain most of its U.S.-made weapons systems and armaments. However, having TLCSM capabilities would enable more Taiwanese defense companies and contractors to produce and offer maintenance services for U.S.-bought weapon systems, Hsu said.

That would speed up arms deliveries to Taiwan and help integrate the two countries’ defense industries, which would ultimately beef up Taiwan’s defense self-reliance and resilience, he said.

Hsu’s appeal suggested that the Taiwan military hopes to obtain more autonomy in its weapon development and management of weapons systems bought from the United States.

In his address, Hsu also thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for approving 11 rounds of arms sales to Taiwan since taking office in 2021, and endorsing a US$345 million military aid package to Taiwan under his Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA).

These moves show that Washington is prioritizing Taiwan’s defensive needs and self-defense capabilities, Hsu said.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has highlighted the importance of accelerating U.S. deliveries of weapons to Taiwan to boost Taiwan’s defense capabilities, he said.

The three-day U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference was held in Virginia from October 1-3.

Since its 2002 debut, the annual conference has facilitated engagement between the American defense industry and the U.S. and Taiwan governments on security matters.

This year’s conference was the largest ever, said Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the event’s organizer, the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council.

More than 200 participants from the U.S. and Taiwanese governments, political parties, and defense industry representatives are participating to discuss the future of U.S.-Taiwan bilateral defense cooperation.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202310030007
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/10/04/2003807176