The House Republicans’ China Task Force met with Taiwan’s ambassador on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, to show support and help sound the alarm over a potential Chinese military invasion of Taiwan — a vibrant and robust democracy that an authoritarian China considers a breakaway province and has vowed to reunite with the mainland under its control.
“Since 2020, this task force has worked diligently to raise awareness of the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which is the greatest geopolitical threat facing America and our friends in the Indo-Pacific. This joint meeting symbolizes our enduring partnership and friendship with Taiwan,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said.
Taiwan warrants our support because it is a vibrant thriving democracy… . But over the past few years, we’ve all seen the mounting aggression coming from Beijing — Hong Kongers being beaten by police. Uighurs — men, women, and children forced into concentration camps and Taiwanese citizens being threatened with military incursion. … We must work to deter the CCP aggression before it’s too late, because we have learned in Ukraine, deterrence comes before conflict, not after… . My colleagues and I have called this meeting because we understand the urgency of the situation.
Congress must continue to act not only to deter communist China, but also to strengthen our ties with Taiwan. I believe we should consider solutions such as increasing arms sales to Taiwan, sending Taiwan the right weapons to deter the CCP, allowing Taiwan to participate in training exercises, like the RIMPAC, allowing Taiwan to display their symbols of national sovereignty in the United States, increasing commercial and trade lines, modernizing our own defense industry base to maintain our unmatched military capability. Now let me be very clear — supporting Taiwan is right, and it is in America’s best interest.
The meeting with the all-Republican task force came the same day that President Joe Biden said he did not support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) traveling to Taiwan in August to show Congress’ support. The trip would make Pelosi the most senior U.S. politician to visit the country in 25 years, according to the Financial Times.
Asked if he believed it was a good idea for the Speaker to visit Taiwan, Biden said the Department of Defense was opposed. “The military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” he told reporters on Wednesday, according to the Times. Biden reportedly did not say who in the D0D opposed it or why.
Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that she thought it was important for Congress to show support for Taiwan. China has threatened “strong measures” if Pelosi does visit Taiwan. Republican members of Congress are calling on Pelosi to go.
“This is a bad message from the president and an overall weak message for U.S. foreign policy,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI), a Marine veteran and member of the GOP China Task Force, said, according to the Times. “I urge Speaker Pelosi not to back down.”
Biden says Pentagon does not support Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan following our scoop on her plans earlier this week. https://t.co/5TEGRH9sdc
— Demetri (@Dimi) July 21, 2022
At the meeting with the China Task Force, Taiwanese Ambassador Bi-khim Hsaio thanked McCarthy, the task force, and members of Congress for their support.
“China is trying to bully Taiwan by threatening to use force and applying a hybrid toolkit of economic and political leverage to isolate and marginalize Taiwan internationally. And though we stand on the front line of facing such coercion, it is clear that these actions also threaten the peace, stability and prosperity of the broader Indo-Pacific region and the world. Taiwan is committed to defending our Homeland and our hard-earned democratic freedoms, but we also need friends and partners to work together in ensuring that our shared values and common interests are protected,” she said.
Task Force Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) spoke about the importance of Taiwan from a military logistics standpoint.
“General MacArthur said Taiwan in the hands of the communists would be an unsinkable aircraft carrier and submarine base ideally located to accomplish offensive strategy. MacArthur knew how important Taiwan was and is from a logistics standpoint. It’s a gateway to the South China Sea and to the Pacific,” he said.
He added that China was trying to rewrite the maps drawn after World War II. “We are concerned about Taiwan for obvious reasons. They are in the sights of [Chinese] President Xi. … He says Taiwan’s independence is a ‘dead end.’ He says that attempts to cause division in China will end in ‘crushed bodies and shattered bones.’ And finally he says, supporting Taiwan is ‘playing with fire’ and ‘whoever plays with fire will get burnt.’ This is the president of China, the head of the communist Chinese Communist Party,” McCaul said.
“As [McCarthy] mentioned, we need to do everything we can to arm Taiwan now and not make the same mistake we made in Ukraine and wait till after an invasion, we need to arm Taiwan right now. I signed off on foreign military sales three years ago that have yet to be delivered to Taiwan. I’m urging the [Biden] administration to get these weapons to Taiwan where they desperately need them to defend themselves,” he said.
Task Force member Rep. Young Kim (R-CA), whose district is home to a large Taiwanese-American population, called Taiwan “a really important ally of the United States and a friend in freedom, democracy and global health security.”
“And as Russia invades Ukraine, China eyes Taiwan. They were sending dozens of work plans into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), and demanding that we end our defense relationship with Taiwan. … Taiwan has purchased billions of dollars worth of military equipment in different systems from the United States, including Patriot missile system upgrades, F-16 fighter jets, stinger missile systems and other items critical for ensuring Taiwan’s security. We need to send a strong message that our allies need to trust us. Our allies need to receive their procured defense equipment in a timely manner. And America’s words must be trusted by our allies, feared by our adversaries, and followed by strong decisive leadership and action by our leaders. Any delays only help Xi Jinping,” Kim said.
“That’s why I’m leading that Arms Exports Delivery Solutions Act, along with a Ranking Member McCaul to ensure this defense equipment is delivered as quickly as possible to our Indo-Pacific allies as the Chinese Communist Party continues its aggression. That passed the house as part of NDAA as was mentioned. And I’m proud that this is a bipartisan effort to support Taiwan and our allies in the region,” she said.
Rep. Mark Green (R-NC) called Taiwan a thriving democracy, a technological powerhouse, a crucial friend of the United States, a close security ally, a top trading partner, and the U.S.’s 10th largest export market and the seventh largest source of imports.
“Unfortunately, in the aftermath of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine companies, China has ramped up its threats against Taiwan,” he said. “As members of Congress, we must take action to deter China and affirm Taiwan’s right to exist.”