2024-0503: Taiwan VP-Elect Urges US-Taiwan Defense Cooperation; Congressional Hearings on Taiwan; Inviting Taiwan to the WHO

Taiwan VP-elect Hsiao Bi-khim Urges Taiwan’s Integration into US Defense Supply Chain and Expedited Arms

In a pre-recorded video for the Hill & Valley Forum on A.I. Security, Taiwan’s Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim expressed concerns over delays in U.S. weapons deliveries to Taiwan and called for greater cooperation in defense manufacturing between Taiwan and the United States.

Importantly, Hsiao called for Taiwan’s inclusion in the Department of Defense (DoD) Security of Supply Arrangements (SOSA) and other public-private partnerships that will add resilience to both Taiwanese and American defense industries. Among other objectives, this would address the $19 billion backlog of U.S. arms deliveries to Taiwan, the subject of debate during foreign affairs committee hearings in both the House and Senate this week.

“We have read with interest the National Defense Industrial Strategy published by the Pentagon a few months ago, highlighting the need for international collaboration among allies and partners,” Hsiao remarked. “I believe this is where a Taiwan partnership with the United States is not only a force multiplier but an absolute necessity.” 

Hsiao explained that rather than focusing purely on asymmetric weaponry, the United States and Taiwan may benefit from jointly tackling the apparent inertia within the U.S. industrial production base. 

By combining Taiwan’s excellence in hardware manufacturing and machinery and the U.S.’s strength in security-related software and systems integration, the two countries can jointly tackle problems of production capacity and scale

Hsiao explained that there is room for “integrated collaboration or a possible co-production scheme.” The U.S. and Taiwan can add resilience and efficiency to their defense supply chains through their joint cooperation.

Taiwan’s indigenous production capacity is critical to its self-defense capabilities and strong deterrence against China’s aggression. To this end, Taiwan’s inclusion in the DoD’s SOSA program and other collaboration mechanisms is critical.

“Taiwan is an irreplaceable and indispensable contributor to global technology advancements,” Hsiao said. “The peace and security of Taiwan is essential to global prosperity, and public and private stakeholders around the world must come together to ensure that peace and prosperity prevail.”

[1] YouTube
[2] Politico
[3] Radio Taiwan International

House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees Hold Hearings on Taiwan 

This week, foreign affairs committees in both houses of Congress held hearings on U.S.-Taiwan relations and policy.

On April 30, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on East Asia, The Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, held a hearing on U.S. policy on Taiwan. The hearing was led by Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ranking Member Mitt Romney (R-UT). The witness was Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel J. Kritenbrink.

Similarly, on May 1, Chairwoman Young Kim (R-CA) and Ranking Member Ami Bera (D-CA) led the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Indo-Pacific, in a hearing on the Taiwan Relations Act and the future of U.S.-Taiwan relations. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel J. Kristenbrink also testified for the House hearing.

Notably, in both hearings, members of Congress from across the political spectrum voiced their bipartisan support for Taiwan, with many praising the passage of the recent emergency appropriations bill as a significant step towards maintaining peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region. Others expressed concern about delays in weapons deliveries to Taiwan.

[1] House Foreign Affairs
[2] Senate Foreign Relations

Secretary Blinken: US Supports Taiwan’s Participation in the World Health Assembly

The World Health Organization (WHO) should invite Taiwan to the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA), scheduled between May 27 and June 1. 

“The United States strongly encourages the WHO to reinstate an invitation to Taiwan to participate as an observer at this year’s WHA so the world may once again benefit from Taiwan’s expertise and experience,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked in a press statement. “Time and again, Taiwan has demonstrated a capability and willingness to help address global health crises and support the global health community.”

For decades, Beijing has unfairly barred Taiwan from participation in international forums like the World Health Organization (WHO) or its parent organization, the United Nations. Given its mission to champion “health and a better future for all,” the WHO should work to ensure that it does not exclude Taiwan’s 23.5 million people from important health dialogues.

“Taiwan’s continued exclusion from this preeminent global health forum undermines inclusive global public health cooperation and security, which the world demands – and urgently needs. Inviting Taiwan to observe the WHA is a critically important step toward affirming the WHO’s goal of ‘Health for All,’ ” Blinken concluded in his press statement.

Apart from the 77th WHA, Taiwan also seeks inclusion in the WHO Pandemic Agreement, an initiative launched during the Covid-19 pandemic that aims to “prevent, prepare for and respond to pandemics.” Taiwan’s exemplary performance in containing the pandemic demonstrates the importance of its inclusion.

[1] State Department
[2] Focus Taiwan