Approximately 43 years ago, the US Congress passed by majority vote and President Jimmy Carter then signed the Taiwan Relations Act, one of the most important pillars of American foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Taiwan Relations Act established American commitments to a democratic Taiwan, providing a framework for economic and diplomatic relations that quickly developed into a key partnership. This has fostered a deep friendship based on common interests and values: self-determination and self-government, democracy and freedom, dignity and human rights. About this in a special article for Washington Post writes Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who arrived in Taiwan today. Further ZN.UA provides a translation of this article.
The law made a solemn pledge that the US would support Taiwan’s defenses: “Consider any effort to determine Taiwan’s future by non-peaceful means a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific region and a serious cause for US concern.” Today America must remember that vow. We must support Taiwan as an island of sustainability. Taiwan is a leader in governance: right now in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the fight to preserve the environment, as well as in climate action. He is a leader in peace, security and economic dynamics with an entrepreneurial spirit, a culture of innovation and technological prowess that the world will envy.
However, it is worrying that this dynamic and resilient democracy, which Freedom House has recognized as one of the freest in the world and proudly led by a woman, President Tsai Ing-wen, is under threat. In recent years, Beijing has seriously increased the tension in relations with Taiwan. The PRC has ramped up patrols of bombers, fighter jets, and spy-aircraft in the vicinity and even over Taiwan’s air defense zone, leading the US Department of Defense to conclude that the Chinese army “is most likely preparing for a likely attempt to unite Taiwan and the PRC through brute force.”
China is also fighting the battle in cyberspace, launching many attacks against Taiwanese government departments every day. At the same time, Beijing is putting pressure on the Taiwanese economy, forcing global corporations to break off relations with the island, intimidating countries cooperating with Taiwan, and stopping the flow of tourists from China. Against the backdrop of increased Chinese Communist Party aggression, the visit of our congressional delegation should be seen as a unanimous statement that America supports Taiwan, our democratic partner, in its self-defense and defense of its freedom.
Our visit – one of a number of congressional delegations to the island – in no way contradicts the long-standing policy of one China, established by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, as well as the US-China Joint Communiqués and the Six Guarantees. The US continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo. Our visit is Part of a wider Pacific Rim tourincluding Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. It focuses on issues of common security, economic partnership and democratic governance. Our discussions with Taiwanese partners will focus on reaffirming our support for the island and advancing our common interests, including the development of a free and open Indo-Pacific. American solidarity with Taiwan is now more important than ever, not only to the 23 million people on the island, but to the millions who are oppressed and threatened by the PRC.
32 years ago, I traveled to China as part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation, where we unfurled a black-and-white banner in Tiananmen Square that read: “For the Dead for Democracy in China.” The police pursued us as we left the square. Since then, the appalling human rights situation and Beijing’s disregard for the rule of law has continued. And leader Xi Jinping has an even stronger grip on power.
The Communist Party’s brutal crackdown on political freedoms and human rights in Hong Kong, where even the Catholic Cardinal Joseph Chen was arrested, has resulted in the promise of “one country, two systems” being thrown into the dustbin. In Tibet, the Communist Party has long campaigned to destroy the Tibetan language, culture, religion and identity. In the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Beijing is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other minorities. And across the mainland, the Communist Party continues to harass and arrest activists, religious freedom leaders, and anyone who dares to challenge the regime.
We cannot stand by while the Communist Party continues to threaten Taiwan and democracy as such. We have made this journey to a time when the world was faced with a choice between autocracy and democracy. At a time when Russia is waging its planned illegal war against Ukraine, killing thousands of innocents, including children, it is essential that America and our allies make it clear that we are not surrendering to autocrats.
When I led a congressional delegation to Kyiv in April, I conveyed to President Volodymyr Zelensky that we admire how his people defend Ukraine’s democracy and democracy itself around the world. By visiting Taiwan, we pay tribute to our loyalty to democracy, reaffirm that the freedom of Taiwan and all democracies should be respected.