2024-0531: House & Senate Delegations Visit Taiwan; Taiwan’s Legislature Passes Controversial Bill

Bipartisan House Delegation Arrives in Taiwan

On May 26, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), visited Taiwan to congratulate President Lai Ching-te on his inauguration and demonstrate support for Taiwan amid China’s relentless coercion. 

The bipartisan delegation also included Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific Chairwoman Young Kim (R-CA), Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia Chairman Joe Wilson (R-SC), Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), and Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY).

“Taiwan is a thriving democracy. The U.S. will continue to stand by our steadfast partner and work to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. I look forward to meeting with Taiwan officials to better understand what America can do to preserve peace in Asia and build upon our shared democratic values,” Chairman McCaul remarked.

Chairman McCaul emphasized the urgency of delivering delayed U.S. arms shipments to Taiwan, stressing the need for enhanced defense capabilities against potential Chinese aggression.

The lawmakers reiterated bipartisan support for Taiwan, highlighting the importance of military, economic, and diplomatic ties. They assured that the U.S. remains dedicated to maintaining peace in the region, sending a clear message of solidarity with Taiwan against Chinese pressure.

During their visit, the delegation also gifted Lai a copy of the Washington Times, showcasing an ad by the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) congratulating Lai Ching-te on his inauguration. 

[1] NBC News
[2] HFAC

Bipartisan Senate Delegation Visits Taiwan

On March 29, Taiwan President Lai Ching-te welcomed a bipartisan U.S. Senate delegation led by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The delegation emphasized the importance of U.S.-Taiwan relations and reiterated U.S. commitments to regional peace and stability.

The delegation also included U.S. Senators Laphonza Butler (D-CA) and Chris Coons (D-DE). Senators Duckworth, Sullivan, and Coons had previously traveled to Taiwan in 2021 to announce a U.S. donation of vaccines to Taiwan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re here in Taiwan to demonstrate to the world that the United States stands firm with the island democracy of Taiwan and to congratulate the Taiwanese people on another successful election and transfer of power,” said Senator Sullivan.

“I’ve always believed that if America wants to remain a global leader, we have to show up and support our friends like Taiwan—a partner that our nation has strong economic and military ties with—who are facing escalating threats from the PRC as they work to strengthen their own democracy,” said Senator Duckworth.

Lai thanked the senators for their role in strengthening U.S.-Taiwan relations, highlighting U.S. support for key legislation like the National Defense Authorization Act and the recently passed Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriation Act. He remarked that their visit exemplifies the strong and growing partnership between the two countries, a gesture deeply valued by both the Taiwanese government and its people.

[1] Office of Sen. Dan Sullivan
[2] Taiwan Today

Legislative Bill in Taiwan Raises Concerns Over National Security and US-Taiwan Relations

This week in Taiwan, tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets to protest a controversial bill proposed and passed by the Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP). Aside from the legally questionable means by which the bill was proposed and passed, the bill’s provisions have raised concerns by scholars and political observers worldwide over how they might impact Taiwan’s national security and U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Under the new bill’s provisions, legislators will acquire the power to summon any government official, military personnel, business person, and citizen to the legislature, then request them to reveal any information or face criminal penalties. While the language of the bill is unclear, it suggests that any legislator can force the distribution of sensitive information.

Recent and past controversies revolving around KMT legislators disclosing sensitive diplomatic and security information (e.g., revealing details of Taiwan’s domestic submarine program), as well as frequent visits to China by high-ranking KMT officials, have exacerbated these concerns.

The bill may have implications for American citizens and businesses or citizens with dual citizenship in Taiwan and the United States. For instance, in a live stream, Taipei city councilor Miao Po-ya of the Social Democratic Party raised concerns over the possibility that legislators may force TSMC officials to reveal information regarding the manufacture of advanced semiconductor chips or its operations in the United States. This could potentially have far-reaching effects on U.S.-Taiwan relations.

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs is an American non-profit organization. We do not endorse any political party in either the United States or Taiwan. Our mission is to enhance U.S.-Taiwan relations and promote freedom and democracy. We believe, however, that the recent bill passed by the KMT and TPP in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan poses a potential threat to the U.S.-Taiwan relationship and Taiwan’s democracy. The actual effects of the bill remain unclear.

[1] The Diplomat
[2] The Diplomat