2023-1026: “What US Should Do about Taiwan” (FAPA’s Op-Ed); Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act; President Tsai Praises “Six Assurances”

FAPA President’s Op-Ed: “What US Should Do about Taiwan”

In a Taipei Times op-ed dated October 26, FAPA President Minze Chien makes some recommendations to the United States to more effectively support democratic Taiwan and deter China’s forcible annexation of the island nation.

He writes: “Stanford University political scientist Oriana Skylar Mastro wrote an op-ed in the New York Times” on October 16. “Unfortunately, her article wrongly advised the US to conclude a new (fourth) communique with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and acquiesce to China’s ambitions to annex Taiwan (under the guise of ‘peaceful unification’) to avoid a war with China.”

Dr. Chien emphasizes that: “The overwhelming majority of Taiwanese want to keep Taiwan free as a sovereign and independent country. They have no interest in making democratic Taiwan part of communist China.”

He points out: “China has built up its military for decades, threatening peace and changing the ‘status quo’ in the Taiwan Strait. It is therefore more crucial and urgent than ever for the US and its allies to stand up to China’s continued bullying and diplomatic isolation of Taiwan, and openly challenge Beijing’s ‘one China’ principle that unrealistically claims Taiwan as an integral part of China.”

“Today, the US maintains diplomatic relations with almost every country in the world, except for North Korea, Iran, Bhutan and Taiwan. As a full-fledged democratic and free country that respects human rights, Taiwan does not belong on that short list of nations that do not have diplomatic ties with the US.”

He reminds that: “In 1954, then-US president Dwight Eisenhower, signed a mutual defense treaty with Taiwan, formally committing to defend Taiwan militarily to contain communist China after the Korean War. Eisenhower also visited Taiwan in 1960, making him the first and only sitting US president to do so in history.”

“The US maintained diplomatic relations and a mutual defense treaty with Taiwan until 1979 and 1980 respectively, showing clearly that the US’ formal and robust military ties with Taiwan could effectively deter Beijing rather than leading to China’s full invasion of Taiwan.”

Dr. Chien argues: “Instead of concluding another confusing communique with communist China, the US president or the secretary of state should visit and conclude a joint communique or a statement with Taiwan to support Taiwanese’s right to self-determination, make it clear that Taiwan is not part of China, and pledge that US forces would defend the nation from a Chinese attack.”

“Washington should not let Beijing dictate US policy toward Taiwan. Avoiding diplomatic recognition of Taiwan to appease the PRC would only encourage more Chinese bullying and aggression.”

Dr. Chien concludes: “To more effectively deter China’s forcible annexation of Taiwan, the US, as the leading democratic country, should diplomatically recognize Taiwan’s true ‘status quo’ as an independent, sovereign country and adopt a policy of ‘strategic clarity’ on Taiwan.”

“Doing so is in Washington’s interest, both for geostrategic reasons as well as to maintain US leadership in the world and contain rising authoritarianism,” he added.

On January 25, 2023, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) introduced H.Con.Res.10 urging the U.S. to resume normal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The resolution also calls for the U.S. to support Taiwan’s “full membership” in the United Nations and other international organizations, and abandon the antiquated U.S. “One China Policy.”

[1] Taipei Times (Full Article): https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2023/10/26/2003808222

Sens. Rubio and Merkley Reintroduce Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act

On October 24, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) reintroduced the Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act to update and bolster U.S. policy to support Taiwan amid China’s increased military and diplomatic aggression.  

The two senators introduced the act for the third time, after previous attempts in 2020 and 2021 to get the legislation through Congress stalled.

“This bipartisan bill is more important than ever as it reinforces our nation’s commitment to our democratic ally, Taiwan, and strengthens our bilateral ties,” Sen. Rubio said in a joint press release.

“Taiwan’s democracy is critical to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The United States’ support for Taiwan’s democracy plays a crucial role in defending that peace,” Sen. Merkley said.

If the bill were passed, it would elevate the status of the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to “Representative,” and the appointment of the U.S. Representative to Taiwan would have to be approved by the Senate, as is required for all U.S. Ambassadors.

It would also require the U.S. President to create an “Interagency Taiwan Policy Task Force” consisting of senior U.S. officials who would submit an annual report to Congress detailing actions that should be taken to enhance U.S.-Taiwan relations.

The proposed act calls on the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other relevant U.S. officials to actively support “Taiwan’s membership and meaningful participation in the international organizations.”

It would also require the U.S. Government to invite Taiwanese counterparts to participate in high-level bilateral and multilateral summits, military exercises, and economic dialogues and forums.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202310250009
[2] Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/5026899

Taiwan President Tsai Praises Reagan’s “Six Assurances”

On October 24, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen praised the “Six Assurances” then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan made to Taiwan in 1982, saying that the framework has become a “key foundation” for the development of Taiwan-U.S. relations.

President Tsai told a visiting delegation from the Washington-based Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute that she has visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library twice since her taking office in May 2016.

In April 2023, Tsai met with then-U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) at the library in Simi Valley, California, during a transit stop after a state visit to Belize and Guatemala.

She also visited the library in 2018 during another stopover en route to Belize and Paraguay.

Those trips had given her a “deeper understanding of President Reagan’s life and ideals,” she told the visiting delegation.

“President Reagan’s Six Assurances are still a key foundation for the development of Taiwan-U.S. relations. They are also a cornerstone for maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” she said.

Reagan’s “peace through strength approach” had profoundly influenced Taiwan, Tsai said.

Taiwan is continuing its upgrade of defense capabilities and promoting defense autonomy, she added.

The “Six Assurances” are key foreign policy points of the U.S. regarding ties with Taiwan. They were passed as unilateral U.S. clarifications to the Third Communiqué between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1982.

The “Six Assurances” to Taiwan are:
(1) The U.S. “has not agreed to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan.”
(2) The U.S. “has not agreed to consult with the PRC on arms sales to Taiwan.”
(3) The U.S. “will not play any mediation role between Taipei and Beijing.”
(4) The U.S. “has not agreed to revise the Taiwan Relations Act.”
(5) The U.S. “has not altered its position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan.”
(6) The U.S. “will not exert pressure on Taiwan to enter negotiations with the PRC.”

In 2016, the U.S. House and the Senate passed a concurrent resolution reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the Six Assurances as the cornerstones of U.S.-Taiwan relations.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202310240012
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2023/10/25/2003808194