2024-0404: Earthquake in Taiwan; Peace and Stability Across the Taiwan Strait

Biden and Campbell Emphasize the Importance of Peace and Stability in the Taiwan Strait

On April 2, in a phone call with General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping, President Biden reiterated the “importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” among other regional concerns. The President also highlighted the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s support for Russia and its unfair economic practices. 

On March 27, Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell spoke with the PRC’s Executive Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu. In their call, the Deputy Secretary similarly reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.  

Two days before, the Deputy Secretary had also stressed the importance of cross-Strait peace and stability in a meeting with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in Washington. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed gratitude for this support. 

[1] State Department
[2] State Department
[3] Taiwan Today

AIT Chair Laura Rosenberger in Taiwan

On April 1, Laura Rosenberger, Chair of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen. Both Tsai and Rosenberger praised the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which is approaching the 45th anniversary of its enactment, for its role in deepening U.S.-Taiwan relations.

“Thanks to the bipartisan support of Taiwan in the United States, our partnership has not only stood the test of time but also grown even stronger,” President Tsai remarked. Chair Rosenberger similarly noted the TRA’s role in facilitating the U.S. commitment to ensure Taiwan maintains a “sufficient self-defense capacity.”She praised Tsai’s efforts in building Taiwan’s resilience and self-defense.

As part of her week-long trip to Taiwan, the AIT Chair will also speak with senior political leaders and scholars to discuss areas of U.S.-Taiwan collaboration, including regional security and education.  

[1] Focus Taiwan
[2] American Institute in Taiwan

Taiwan Hit by Biggest Earthquake in 25 Years

Early on April 3, Taipei time, Taiwan was hit by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake, the largest in 25 years. The epicenter was in Hualien County on the eastern coast of Taiwan. The earthquake triggered a tsunami warning in Japan.

As of April 3, local news has reported 9 deaths, over 1,000 people injured, and more than 600 people stranded, with at least 143 people trapped in rubble. Rescue efforts are still underway.

Wednesday morning’s earthquake was the largest Taiwan has experienced since the 1999 Jiji earthquake (commonly known as the “921 earthquake”), which had a magnitude of 7.6 and a death toll of 2,415. The 921 earthquake was the second deadliest earthquake in Taiwan’s history.

Foreign leaders, including Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, British Foreign Minister James Cameron, and Paraguayan President Santiago Pena, have personally extended condolences to the victims and their families.

This is a developing story.

[1] Focus Taiwan
[2] Washington Post

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