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Looking forward to 2024 Taiwan-US relations

– The United States should clearly recognize Taiwan’s right to self-determination and independent national identity

By Su-Mei Kao, President Taiwanese Public Affairs Association (FAPA)

展望 2024 台美關係:美國應明確承認台灣自決權與獨立國格

On the occasion of the new year of 2024, looking back on the Taiwan-US relations in the past 2023, there are undoubtedly many major achievements and progress in military, economic and trade, etc. However, although some efforts have been made in enhancing Taiwan’s international status and space, it still needs to continue to strengthen and make breakthroughs in the future.

For a long time, the Washington-based Taiwanese Public Affairs Association (FAPA) has repeatedly called on the US government to more actively and openly challenge Beijing’s “one-China principle” and clearly reiterate that “Taiwan is not part of China.” We are very pleased to see that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken specifically emphasized in February last year (2023) that the Taiwan Strait crisis “is not an internal matter that China claims based on its sovereignty”, but an international issue of concern to the whole world.

Taiwan-US relations have achieved major breakthroughs within a year. The next step should be to actively dispel the suspicion of the United States.

In early April last year, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen had a historic meeting with then-US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California. This is the first meeting between the president of Taiwan and the Speaker of the US House of Representatives in the United States. It is also a further implementation of the 2018 Taiwan Travel Act.

At the end of July last year, the US government announced for the first time that it would use its “Presidential Drawdown Authority” to provide Taiwan with $345 million in immediate military assistance from its own existing military inventories. At the end of August, the United States also announced for the first time that it would provide Taiwan with US$80 million in military aid through the “Foreign Military Financing (FMF)” program, which is usually used to assist sovereign and independent countries.

On August 7 last year, the “US-Taiwan 21st Century Trade Initiative First Agreement Implementation Act” was signed by president Biden and came into effect, confirming that the US Congress approved the “First Agreement” reached by the United States and Taiwan under the framework of the “21st Century Trade Initiative” in early June. First Agreement. We hope that this first batch of agreements and subsequent trade negotiations will lay a solid foundation for the comprehensive “US-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement” (FTA).

At the end of last year, the US House of Representatives and the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24 NDAA), which was signed by president Biden on December 22, 2023 and officially became US law. The bill includes many provisions on friendship with Taiwan, requires the expansion of US-Taiwan military cooperation, improves the delivery process of arms sales to Taiwan, and authorizes the US Department of Defense to establish a comprehensive training program for Taiwan’s military to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities.

I hope the United States will clearly understand that most Taiwanese people want to maintain the status quo of sovereignty and independence.

In just one year, Taiwan and the United States have made such major breakthroughs in military, economic and trade cooperation, which is exciting. However, we also believe that in order to more actively counter China’s diplomatic war and information war against Taiwan and more effectively eliminate the “suspicious theory of the United States”, the United States should also gradually promote the normalization of Taiwan-US relations and strengthen recognition of Taiwan’s independent national identity, so as to ultimately achieve the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the United States.

In May last year, the US House of Representatives and the Senate proposed the bipartisan “Taiwan Representative Office Act” (Taiwan Representative Office Act), requiring Taiwan’s “substantial” embassy in the United States to be renamed from the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” (TECRO) It is a “Taiwan Representative Office” (TRO).

In addition, the US House of Representatives passed the Taiwan International Solidarity Act in July last year, trying to clarify that the 1971 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 did not involve Taiwan’s sovereignty disputes and international representation issues, in order to counter China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. claims to safeguard Taiwan’s international space and participation.

In this new year, FAPA will continue to promote advocacy and petitions for the above two Taiwan Friendship Acts and hopes that the US Congress can successfully complete the legislation this year to respect Taiwan’s national dignity and the national identity of the Taiwanese people. We believe that the US government and the general public must correctly understand that the vast majority of Taiwanese people choose and hope to maintain the status quo of “Taiwan’s sovereign independence” and are firmly opposed to democratic Taiwan becoming part of communist China.

We also advocate that the US president or secretary of state should officially visit Taiwan and sign a US-Taiwan joint communiqué or issue a joint statement, clearly stating that the United States recognizes and supports the Taiwanese people’s right to self-determination, denies China’s groundless claims of sovereignty over Taiwan, and makes clear its commitment The US military will jointly defend Taiwan if China invades Taiwan.

“Appeasement policy” encourages China to bully Taiwan. Only formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Taiwan can truly deter China.

In 1954, when US president Dwight Eisenhower was in office, the United States and Taiwan formally signed a mutual defense treaty, committing the US military to defend Taiwan under international law to curb Communist China’s military expansion. Eisenhower visited Taiwan in 1960, making him the first (and still the only) sitting US president to visit Taiwan in history.

In 1972, even though the United States still maintained formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan at the time, then-US president Richard Nixon and Secretary of State William Rogers still visited Communist China and signed the Shanghai Communique, which established a harmonious relationship between the United States and the Chinese people. Paving the way for normalization of relations between the republics.

Thereafter, the United States maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan until January 1, 1979, and maintained a mutual defense treaty until January 1, 1980. This clearly proves that formal diplomatic relations and clear military commitments between the United States and Taiwan can actually effectively deter China from invading Taiwan, rather than leading to a full-scale military invasion of Taiwan.

For more than 40 years, in order to appease and appease the authoritarian Communist China, the United States has not only avoided formally recognizing Taiwan, but also adopted “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan. The president and secretary of state of the United States have always deliberately avoided visiting Taiwan. However, Washington’s “appeasement policy” towards China will only further encourage China’s “wolf warrior diplomacy” and bullying against Taiwan, and encourage its aggressive behaviour and expansion ambitions.

We firmly believe that in order to more effectively deter China from annexing Taiwan, the United States, as the leader of the democratic and liberal camp, should adopt “strategic clarity” for Taiwan, clearly support the Taiwanese people’s right to self-determination, and diplomatically recognize the “true status quo” of Taiwan as a sovereign and independent country at an early date.”

This is not only in line with the common national interests of Taiwan and the United States but also the only way to effectively curb the expansion of rising authoritarianism. 原文刊載於報呱(2024/01/03)



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