2023-1019: Taiwan-China Dispute Is Not an Unfinished Chinese Civil War; AIT Chair Rosenberger Praises Taiwan’s Defense Reforms

Cross-Taiwan Strait Dispute Is Not a Continuation of Chinese Civil War: Taiwan VP Lai

The dispute across the Taiwan Strait is not a continuation of the Chinese Civil War, but a matter of international concern, Taiwan Vice President and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Lai Ching-te (or William Lai) said while campaigning in Kaohsiung on October 15.

“Taiwan is an independent country, with sovereignty belonging to the 23.5 million people who live there. It does not belong to China or other nations,” Lai said.

“Sovereignty is like ownership of the property. You can protect the property only if you have the ownership. Without sovereignty, you lose land deeds, property ownership, democracy and human rights,” he said.

The Taiwan government would be willing to talk to China if Beijing treats Taiwan with respect and dignity, Lai said.

However, signing a peace agreement with China, as some people have proposed, would not achieve real peace, he added. “If a peace agreement [with China] works, Tibet would be a different place.”

“Opposition parties proposed that we accept the [so-called] ‘1992 consensus,’ which maintains the ‘One China principle’ and would lead to ‘one country, two systems,’” Lai said.

“Accepting the ‘1992 consensus’ would be equivalent to giving up Taiwan’s sovereignty and losing freedom and democracy,” he said.

The dispute across the Taiwan Strait is not a continuation of the Chinese Civil War, nor is it merely a problem between Taiwan and China, Lai emphasized.

“It is an issue that the world has to deal with. We need to jointly protect Taiwan by forming alliances with other democratic countries,” he added.

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2023/10/16/2003807764
[2] Liberty Times (Mandarin): https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/politics/breakingnews/4459135

Visiting AIT Chair Rosenberger Praises Taiwan’s Defense Reforms, Reiterates U.S. Support

On October 16, visiting American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairwoman Laura Rosenberger reiterated the U.S.’ pledge to help Taiwan defend itself with a “full range of tools,” while praising Taiwan’s ongoing efforts to enhance its self-defense capabilities.

Speaking to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen during a meeting in the Presidential Office, Rosenberger said the U.S. approach toward Taiwan has remained consistent “over the past 40 years and across administrations.”

“We stand with our friends and will continue to do so,” the AIT chair said, adding that Washington is continuing its efforts to enable Taiwan to maintain “sufficient self-defense capabilities.”

“The United States is seizing upon the full range of tools authorized by Congress, such as Presidential Drawdown Authority and Foreign Military Financing [to reach that goal],” Rosenberger added.

The AIT head lauded the Tsai administration’s decision to enhance Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities through initiatives such as increasing defense spending and reforming its reserve forces, conscription and mobilization systems.

Meanwhile, President Tsai thanked the U.S. Biden administration for continuing to “normalize arm sales” to Taiwan. “This is helping Taiwan bolster its self-defense capabilities as we jointly work to safeguard regional peace and stability,” Tsai told Rosenberger.

Taiwan has been improving its defense capabilities, with the latest achievement being the first domestically made submarine (the Hai Kun, or “Narwhal”) unveiled last month — a milestone in Taiwan’s defense autonomy, Tsai said.

Strengthening mutually beneficial trade and investment relations between Taiwan and the U.S. is also a top priority, Tsai added.

Rosenberger is making her third trip to Taiwan since becoming the AIT chair on March 20, 2023. She arrived Taiwan on October 15 and is scheduled to depart on October 20.

The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties. Its Taipei director serves as the top U.S. envoy to Taiwan, with the chairperson holding a more ceremonial role.

Nevertheless, a Reuters report published in March predicted that Rosenberger would take a more “hands-on approach” to building the U.S.’ unofficial ties with Taiwan than her predecessors, citing four people familiar with the Biden administration’s thinking.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202310160013
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/10/17/2003807797