2023-1102: Resolution Calling for Taiwan’s Full Participation in APEC; Ex-Pentagon Official Urges U.S. Support for Taiwan; U.S., Canadian Warships Transit Taiwan Strait

Inviting Taiwan’s President to the Upcoming APEC Summit in San Francisco 
Rep. Lance Gooden’s H.Con.Res.71

U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) is seeking bipartisan support for his resolution (H.Con.Res.71) urging the Biden Admiration to invite Taiwan’s president to the upcoming APEC Summit in San Francisco later this month.

Taiwan is a full member in good standing of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and an increasingly important economy in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. It deserves equal respect and treatment given to all other APEC members, including receiving the invitation for Taiwan’s president to attend the annual “APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.”

Generally, the heads of government of the APEC member countries attend the leaders’ summit. However, due to China’s objections, Taiwan has been represented only by business leaders and retired senior officials, instead.

As the host country, the United States has the prerogative to invite participants to this year’s APEC summit. The U.S. can set a new precedent for the APEC and reiterate its commitment to Taiwan by inviting President Tsai Ing-wen to the leaders’ summit.

The U.S. should reject China’s continued bullying that seeks to exclude Taiwan’s full participation in the APEC. China may protest the invitation of Tsai, but Washington should not allow Beijing to dictate the U.S.’ foreign relations.

Moreover, inviting Taiwan’s president to the APEC summit in San Francisco is consistent with longstanding U.S. policy outlined in various existing U.S. laws. It would, for instance, implement the “Taiwan Travel Act” of 2018, which encourages high-level officials from Taiwan to visit the U.S. and vice versa.

[1] Rep. Lance Gooden’s Office: https://gooden.house.gov/press-releases?ID=AB4067C1-4BD1-4C8D-8E71-BE3576923168

Ex-Pentagon Official Urges More U.S. Support for Taiwan’s Combat-Readiness and International Participation

The U.S. should include Taiwan in combat-readiness operations and support Taiwan’s international participation to deter China’s aggression and ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region, former U.S. deputy undersecretary of the navy Seth Cropsey said.

Legal disputes over Taiwan’s status were “not the root of Sino-American antagonism,” but “mere symptoms of underlying antagonisms,” Cropsey wrote in an op-ed published by The Hill on October 30.

The U.S.-China tension over Taiwan is “a strategic antagonism over mutually conflicting long-term political, military and economic objectives,” rather than “a legal antagonism, founded on some poor understanding of Taiwan’s status,” he said.

“Thus, renewed legal discussion over Taiwan’s status has no real impact on the Sino-American relationship,” Cropsey pointed out.

“The notion that the U.S. could meaningfully decrease the odds of confrontation by providing public or private assurances against a Taiwanese ‘independence’ declaration is as politically vacuous as it is strategically irrelevant,” he emphasized.

“Taiwan is an independent country under any definition, making it meaningless to say so in one manner or another,” he said, adding that “Taipei’s current stance is in no need of modification.” 

To deter China from invading Taiwan “requires deterring Chinese aggression throughout the Indo-Pacific” region, as Taiwan is “a mere stepping-stone” to China’s more aggressive ambition of regional dominance, Cropsey said.

A Chinese takeover of Taiwan would jeopardize the defenses of Japan, the Philippines and Australia, he added.

Cropsey called on the U.S. to prioritize the military aspects of deterrence by allocating more to the defense budget so that it “can sustain the forces needed to fight a large-scale Indo-Pacific air-naval war.”

More importantly, the U.S. should “integrate the capabilities of regional allies, allowing them to operate jointly with U.S. forces in combat,” which “must include Taiwan as well, considering Taipei’s geographic and military relevance,” he emphasized.

“Hence, the U.S. should equally encourage the Taiwanese to build bridges internationally and support Taiwanese participation in international organizations to provide Taipei with more diplomatic outlets,” he added.

[1] The Hill (Full Article): https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/4275213-a-guarantee-to-china-on-taiwan-would-be-pointless/
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/11/01/2003808518

U.S., Canadian Naval Vessels Make “Routine” Transit of Taiwan Strait

On November 1, a U.S. destroyer and a Canadian warship conducted a “routine” transit of the Taiwan Strait to demonstrate a commitment “to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) and Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) conducted “a routine Taiwan Strait transit” through waters “where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law,” the 7th Fleet under the U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement.

Rafael Peralta and Ottawa’s “unprovocative” bilateral transit through the Taiwan Strait “demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the U.S. 7th Fleet said.

“The ships transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State.” “Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region where aircraft and ships of all nations may fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” it said.

The last voyage made by U.S. and Canadian warships was on September 9 by the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341).

Despite China’s opposition, Taiwan’s government has welcomed such transits, describing them as beneficial to promoting regional peace and stability.

[1] U.S. 7th Fleet: https://www.c7f.navy.mil/Media/News/Display/Article/3576683/7th-fleet-destroyer-and-royal-canadian-navy-frigate-transit-taiwan-strait/
[2] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202311020006