2024-0524: New Taiwan President; China Intimidates Taiwan With “Punishment” Military Exercises

FAPA Congratulates President Lai Ching-te and Vice President Hsiao Bi-Khim on Inauguration

On May 20, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) published a full-page advertisement in the Washington Times celebrating the inauguration of Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te and Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim. FAPA congratulated the newly inaugurated leaders and reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.

In his inaugural speech, Lai remarked that he would work to further advance Taiwan’s democratic values and deepen ties with the United States as a critical ally. He expressed gratitude for the passage of the 2024 Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act and similarly thanked countries around the world for their consideration and support for Taiwan. He remarked the he is committed to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

FAPA believes that Lai’s speech is a testament to his desire to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen.

In the ad, FAPA makes a direct appeal to Congress, urging them to invite Taiwan’s democratically elected President, Lai Ching-te, to Washington, D.C. This invitation, which has no legal restrictions, would be a significant step in furthering U.S.-Taiwan relations. In 2018, the Taiwan Travel Act was unanimously passed in Congress and signed into U.S. law, effectively removing all barriers to high-level official visits between the U.S. and Taiwan.

FAPA Executive Director Chiao-Yun Anny Hsiao remarked: “We have witnessed the gradual normalization in U.S.-Taiwan relations in the past eight years. This year, we also celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, a key milestone in U.S.-Taiwan relations. We are delighted that Lai is committed to securing Taiwan’s vibrant democracy, peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and global prosperity.

“Taiwan has shown the United States that it is a country that warrants diplomatic recognition. It is time to change the outdated policy and move towards formal U.S.-Taiwan diplomatic relations. The United States can begin by inviting President Lai for an official visit to Washington, D.C.

China Coerces Taiwan With Military Exercises as Taiwan Welcomes New President

On May 23, China announced that it would conduct joint military exercises surrounding Taiwan in what they described as “punishment” for the inauguration of President Lai Ching-te.

Such exercises serve primarily to intimidate and coerce the people of Taiwan for electing Lai, who is a strong supporter of democratic values and against China’s authoritarian expansionism. These exercises also attempt to test the red-lines and crisis management abilities of Taiwan’s new administration.

Taiwan’s democratically elected president, Lai Ching-te, has offered to dialogue with China on many occasions and, in his inaugural speech, to reopen channels for tourism and educational exchanges. But Beijing has not reciprocated these offers to communicate, instead calling Lai “disgraceful.” These events underscore Beijing’s unilateral attempts at intimidating and coercing Taiwan without any provocation on the part of Taipei.

The U.S. State Department has remarked that it is in coordination with Taipei and monitoring the situation very closely. In an email response to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA), a State Department spokesperson expressed concern over reports of the People Liberation Army’s (PLA) exercises around Taiwan, noting that Beijing is escalating a situation that is only normal and routine of Taiwan’s democratic process.

[1] Focus Taiwan
[2] Reuters