2024-0104: U.S. Should Recognize Taiwan’s Self-Determination and Independent Statehood (FAPA’s Op-Ed); FY 2024 NDAA with Taiwan Provisions

U.S. Should Recognize Taiwan’s Right of Self-Determination and Independent Statehood: FAPA President’s Op-Ed

In a Pourquoi op-ed dated January 3, 2024, FAPA President Su-Mei Kao argues that to more effectively deter China’s aggression against Taiwan, the U.S. should adopt “strategic clarity” on Taiwan’s defense, clearly support the right of the people of Taiwan to self-determination, and diplomatically recognize Taiwan as an independent, sovereign country.

Looking back on U.S.-Taiwan relations in 2023, there were undoubtedly many significant achievements and progress was made in military and trade cooperation. However, despite some efforts to enhance Taiwan’s international status and space, we still need to do much more and make breakthroughs in 2024 and in the future.

FAPA has long and repeatedly called on the U.S. government to more proactively and openly challenge Beijing’s “One China principle” and reiterate that “Taiwan is not part of China.” We are glad to see that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized in February 2023 that a crisis across the Taiwan Strait is “not an internal matter, as China would have it, based on its sovereignty,” but a matter of concern to the entire world.

In this new year, 2024, FAPA will continue to advocate and launch petitions for pro-Taiwan bills such as the “Taiwan Representative Office Act” and the “Taiwan International Solidarity Act,” hoping that the U.S. Congress will pass them this year to respect Taiwan’s national dignity and identity more.

We believe that the U.S. government and the general public need to correctly understand that the overwhelming majority of the people of Taiwan want to maintain Taiwan’s status quo as a sovereign and independent country, and are firmly opposed to making democratic Taiwan part of Communist China.

We also urge the U.S. President or the Secretary of State to officially visit Taiwan and issue a joint communique or statement with Taiwan to make clear that the U.S. supports the Taiwanese people’s right of self-determination, rejects China’s groundless claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, and pledges that U.S. forces would defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion.

For more than 40 years, to appease the authoritarian China, the U.S. has not only avoided formally recognizing Taiwan, but also adopted a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan’s defense. The U.S. President and the Secretary of State have also deliberately avoided visiting Taiwan.

However, Washington’s “appeasement policy” will only further encourage China’s “wolf warrior diplomacy” and bullying against Taiwan, and intensify its aggressive behavior and territorial expansion ambitions.

We believe that to more effectively deter China’s annexation of Taiwan, the United States — as the leading democratic country — should adopt a policy of “strategic clarity” towards Taiwan, clearly support the right of self-determination of the people of Taiwan, and diplomatically recognize Taiwan’s “true status quo” as an independent, sovereign country.

Doing so not only serves the common national interests of the U.S. and of Taiwan, but is the only way to effectively curb the expansion of rising authoritarianism.

[1] Pourquoi (Full Article in Hanji): https://pourquoi.tw/%e3%80%90%e6%9e%97%e7%b4%a0%e6%a2%85%e3%80%91%e5%b1%95%e6%9c%9b-2024-%e5%8f%b0%e7%be%8e%e9%97%9c%e4%bf%82%ef%bc%9a%e7%be%8e%e5%9c%8b%e6%87%89%e6%98%8e%e7%a2%ba%e6%89%bf%e8%aa%8d%e5%8f%b0%e7%81%a3/

Biden Signs into Law FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with Important Taiwan Provisions

On December 22, 2023, U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024” (FY 2024 NDAA) (H.R.2670), which authorizes the U.S. Secretary of Defense to create a comprehensive training program for Taiwan’s military, and requires a status report on the delivery of defense weapons and services that the U.S. has agreed to sell to Taiwan.

Provisions in the FY 2024 NDAA related to Taiwan include measures to help strengthen its defense capabilities, counter Chinese influence campaigns, and support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.

One of those provisions requires the U.S. Secretary of Defense, in consultation with “appropriate officials in Taiwan,” to establish “a comprehensive training, advising, and institutional capacity-building program” for Taiwan’s military forces.

The NDAA also directs the U.S. Secretaries of Defense and State to describe actions taken to carry out the program in their annual reports to the U.S. Congress.

Other sections in the NDAA require relevant U.S. officials to closely monitor deliveries of defense articles to U.S. allies, including Taiwan, and to prevent delays.

The bill forbids committing more than 85 percent of the funds available to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition until a plan is submitted to provide Harpoon missiles to security partners.

It also requires a briefing on the status of U.S.-provided security assistance to Taiwan before the remaining funds can be released.

Taiwan has committed to purchasing 400 land-launched Harpoon missiles from the U.S. It hopes to start taking delivery of the missiles in 2026 and receive all 400 by the end of 2028.

The NDAA requires that the Secretaries of Defense and State brief Congressional committees on the status of U.S.-provided security assistance to Taiwan no later than 180 days after the date of the law’s enactment.

Those reports must include a list of defense articles and services either committed to or planned to be provided to Taiwan, and the estimated delivery schedule for each of them.

Crucially, the NDAA stipulates that the briefing must also identify any defense article or service whose delivery has been delayed by more than three months and the actions taken to prevent delays or accelerate the delivery of such items.

The authorization act also directs the U.S. Secretary of Defense to work with Taiwanese officials on cybersecurity activities aimed at defending military networks, infrastructure, and systems to counter “malicious cyber activity” aimed at military installations.

It also mandates the Director of National Intelligence to enter into a contract with an eligible entity to conduct “a comprehensive study on the global economic impact of a military invasion of Taiwan” by China.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202312230004
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/12/24/2003811070