As China Continues to Bully Its Neighbors, U.S. Must Support Taiwan and Recommit to Critical Alliance With Our Democratic Friend and Ally, Says Ros-Lehtinen

Mar 14, 2014

As China Continues to Bully Its Neighbors, U.S. Must Support Taiwan and Recommit to Critical Alliance With Our Democratic Friend and Ally, Says Ros-Lehtinen

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement during a full committee hearing entitled, “The Promise of the Taiwan Relations Act.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you and the Ranking Member for holding this important hearing because relations between the U.S. and Taiwan are at a critical juncture.

I’m concerned, as all of us are, about China’s continued rise and aggression in the East and South China Seas and the feeble response by our State Department to North Korean missile launches, which are clear violations of international sanctions. The people of Taiwan have every reason to fear developments in the West Pacific, to worry about the future of their land, and to question both the resolve and the commitment of the United States – how tragic.

And as we approach the 35th anniversary of the very important and essential Taiwan Relations Act, we remember that this crucial legislation forms the cornerstone of U.S.-Taiwan relations, it is the foundation of policy that has been and will remain forevermore the anchor of peace and security in the West Pacific.

But as we reflect on the promise of the Taiwan Relations Act, on this 35th anniversary, we must also gauge the fulfillment of its specific policies and reexamine the lack of strategic vision in this part of the world, and talk about where we go from here. As we watch China again increase its defense budget by double digits, begin construction on a second aircraft carrier, establish an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea, and continue its aggression over the Senkaku islands, there is no better time to reaffirm, to clarify, and to strengthen relations with our democratic ally and our strongest friend Taiwan.

But instead of recommitting to Taiwan, we continue to hear our State Department speak in half-truths, invent a laundry list of items that hinder our relations with Taiwan and our Pacific allies, and do everything it can to not provoke China, and that sadly seems to be our policy with Taiwan – don’t antagonize China. 

The Taiwan Policy Act, introduced by my colleagues, the Chairs of the Taiwan Caucus, and me, passed out of this committee last August. The bill aims to rectify these problems by advancing the sale of essential defense articles—I would like to point out that the new sales of F-16s in this bill—it encourages high-level visits between U.S. and Taiwan officials, it promotes bilateral trade agreements.

What is the Administration’s policy on the Taiwan Policy Act? Secondly, how does the Administration plan to counterbalance China’s power when we won’t even commit to our democratic ally Taiwan and, by extension, any of our other regional allies? And thirdly, what is the Administration going to do to develop Taiwan’s independence and strengthen our economic bonds? What is the Obama Administration’s policy on Taiwan, other than don’t make China mad?”