After passing the US Senate by unanimous consent on February 28, the Taiwan Travel Act was signed into law today by President Donald Trump. The act first passed the House of Representatives on January 9. While the act encourages official visits between Taiwan and the United States, its implementation is completely up to the two governments.
The act has consistently drew ire from China, ranging from threats to members of Congress to strong dissatisfaction. China threatened Taiwan with war after the act passed.
Taiwan’s Executive Yuan today announced a reshuffle of top officials in diplomacy, security, and defense. Presidential Office Secretary-General Joseph Wu will replace Foreign Minister David Lee, who will replace National Security Council Secretary-General Yen Teh-fa. Yen will replace Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan, who will head a think tank to be established by the defense ministry. Mainland Affairs Minister Katherine Chang will be replaced by National Taiwan University Professor Chen Min-tong, who was a former minister in 2007-2008 and served as President Tsai Ing-wen’s deputy when she was mainland affairs minister. Labor minister and veteran affairs ministers are also both being replaced. Continue reading “Cabinet reshuffles ahead of midterm elections”
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed H. R. 535 Taiwan Travel Act without amendment today. The bill, which encourages official visits between Taiwan and the United States, passed the US House of Representatives on January 9.
SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS; STATEMENT OF POLICY.
(a) Sense Of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that the United States Government should encourage visits between officials from the United States and Taiwan at all levels.
(b) Statement Of Policy.—It should be the policy of the United States to—
(1) allow officials at all levels of the United States Government, including Cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials, to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts;
(2) allow high-level officials of Taiwan to enter the United States, under conditions which demonstrate appropriate respect for the dignity of such officials, and to meet with officials of the United States, including officials from the Department of State and the Department of Defense and other Cabinet agencies; and
(3) encourage the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and any other instrumentality established by Taiwan, to conduct business in the United States, including activities which involve participation by Members of Congress, officials of Federal, State, or local governments of the United States, or any high-level official of Taiwan.
Continue reading “US Senate committee passes Taiwan Travel Act”
Ian Easton, author of The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia, composed an excellent piece in the Diplomat about how Beijing intends to annex Taiwan.
[Xi Jinping’s] playbook is not to win heart and minds in Taiwan. Given the stark differences between the political value systems espoused by the two sides, that would be impossible. China will instead seek to weaken hearts and minds in Taiwan. Beijing will engage in a long and intermittent war of nerves with Taipei, using advanced psychological warfare techniques to convince the Taiwanese that they are in a hopeless situation. China will apply propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, history manipulation, espionage, and economic warfare. Ultimately, Xi’s goal will be to infiltrate and subvert key pillars of Taiwan’s democracy.
We are beginning to see more Chinese fighter jets circling the island and expect more to come. We have seen diplomatic allies lured away by economic opportunities and foreign aid, while other countries shove us under the bus to get better deals with China. We saw people who supposedly represent Taiwan at the Communist Party Congress swear allegiance to Xi and the party, while the fifth column in Taiwan is protected by the very freedom and rights they are encroaching and eroding. We saw one of our own sentenced to jail for supporting democracy and human rights. Continue reading “China’ playbook for conquering Taiwan”
President Tsai Ing-wen is leading a delegation to visit three of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Pacific: Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and Solomon Islands. The delegation departs Taipei today, will make a stop in Honolulu, and will return on November 4 with a stop in Guam. China Airlines is selected to handle the delegation this time.
President Tsai is expected to meet with the head of state of each country and deliver a speech each at the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands parliaments. She is also expected to meet with the Taiwanese community in Honolulu and visit aid projects sponsored by Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) in the three countries. The ROC first established diplomatic relations with Tuvalu in 1979, with Solomon Islands in 1983, and with Marshall Islands in 1998. Other allies in the region include Kiribati, Nauru, and Palau.
In response to the passage of Taiwan Travel Act in the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on October 12, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson reiterated its continued opposition to any official US-Taiwan contacts, while the Washington Post reported that the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to block Taiwan-related legislation. Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai expressed “grave concern” over the Taiwan Travel Act (House and Senate versions), the Taiwan Security Act and both the House and Senate (section 1270) versions of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.
The Taiwan Travel Act will encourage official travel between Taiwan and the US. The US Department of State currently imposes restrictions on official travels between the two countries due to the lack of official diplomatic relationship. The Taiwan Security Act and Taiwan-related provisions in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act encourages military exchanges between Taiwanese and American armed forces and authorizes ships to make port calls to both sides’ naval bases. All aforementioned legislation still need to pass both chambers of the US Congress.