A senior State Department official told Congress Thursday (June 17) that the vaccine will be delivered to Taiwan in a “very short period of time” and revealed that the U.S. is in discussions with Taiwan on how to start cooperation on vaccine production. Meanwhile, members of both parties have introduced bills this week to support Taiwan, as China’s recent renewed incursions into the country with massive military aircraft have created security tensions across the Taiwan Strait. One Republican shouted to Beijing that “the consequences of coercive action against Taiwan would not be in the interests of all parties.”
Dawn of U.S.-Taiwan cooperation on vaccine production?
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Jonathan Fritz said at a hearing Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific that the U.S. and Taiwan are actively moving forward with operational processes to ensure that vaccines promised to Taiwan comply with Taiwan regulations and are delivered safely to Taiwan.
“In a very short period of time, we expect to deliver these vaccines to Taiwan and hope to have the Taiwanese population vaccinated soon thereafter,” Federweil said at the hearing.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee’s Asia-Pacific Subcommittee, which chaired the hearing, asked if a specific timeline could be provided.
In response, Federweil said, “I’m hoping maybe within a couple of weeks, but I can’t give an exact timeline.”
Earlier this month, three cross-party senators made a flash visit to Taiwan, announcing during a brief three-hour stay that the U.S. government would provide 750,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan. Taiwan has been experiencing an outbreak of the new crown outbreak since April of this year, catching authorities off guard and beginning to urgently try to secure the vaccine.
Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, went on to ask if the U.S. has plans to start a partnership with Taiwan to produce the vaccine.
“President Biden has made it clear that the United States wants to work with friends and partners to build a vaccine bank,” Federweil replied, adding that “Taiwan does have that capability, and we’ve started a dialogue about how we can start (vaccine production) cooperation with Taiwan and other places in the hope that The whole world can get vaccinated and end this pandemic.”
Fei De Wei also mentioned that the U.S. was in desperate need of medical supplies and assistance in the early stages of the outbreak last year, when Taiwan, which had the epidemic well under control, reached out to the U.S., for which the U.S. expressed gratitude.
“The United States has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Taiwan’s generosity, and we expect that we can do the same for them in terms of vaccines,” Fei De Wei said at the hearing.
“I think this (vaccine cooperation) makes sense and will deepen the relationship between us and Taiwan,” Markey said.
U.S. one-China policy ≠ China’s one-China principle
At the hearing, titled “Strengthening the U.S.-Taiwan Partnership,” lawmakers from both parties questioned Washington’s long-standing “one-China policy.
“The United States believes that we have been productive in running our informal relationship with Taiwan,” Federwe said. He cited the U.S. commitment to maintaining a consistent approach to compliance with the U.S. “One-China policy” based on the legislation, the three U.S.-China joint communiqués and the Six Assurances to Taiwan, which has not changed since the Taiwan Relations Act took effect.
We are committed to consistently pursuing our One-China Policy within the framework of the One-China Policy,” noted Federweil. We have, of course, sought to strengthen our unofficial relationship with Taiwan, not only because Taiwan itself has become a better partner in many ways, but also because of the growing threat from across the strait.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), the ranking Republican member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, went on to ask State Department officials testifying at the hearing to provide further clarity on how the U.S. “One-China policy” is defined.
Romney said, “Can you describe what you mean by the ‘one-China policy’? How do you combine that policy with the principle that the people of Taiwan should be able to choose their own future path?”
“The ‘one-China policy’ refers to the fact that we have established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, which, of course, has implications for whoever is a member of various international organizations,” explained Federweil.
In accordance with the U.S. “One-China policy,” Fadewell continued, the United States will continue to develop its relationship with Taiwan.
“As you mentioned, Taiwan is a partner in democracy. Ensuring that the 24 million people of Taiwan are free to choose their future and are free from threats across the strait is critical to peace and stability in the Western Pacific and to the interests of the United States. So we will continue to do all we can to demonstrate rock-solid U.S. support for Taiwan’s democracy and its ability to choose its own future,” said Federweil.
While both Washington’s “One China Policy” and Beijing’s “One China Principle” have “one China” in them, the U.S. “One China Policy The connotations of the U.S. “one-China policy” are very different from the content of China’s “one-China principle. The elements of China’s “One-China Principle” include that there is only one China in the world, that the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing all of China, and that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory.
In the U.S. “One-China Policy,” however, the arguments and key issues are viewed very differently from the doctrine held by China.
The major difference between the U.S. “One-China Policy” and China’s “One-China Principle” is that the core spirit of the U.S. “One-China Policy” maintains a strategic ambiguity that encompasses the U.S. The core spirit of the U.S. “One-China Policy” maintains a strategic ambiguity, encompasses U.S. concerns about the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, and differs from China’s “One-China Principle” in its interpretation and perception of Taiwan’s legal status.
“We want to see the people of Taiwan decide their own destiny,” Senator Romney told the Voice of America.
Both parties have been pushing new laws in quick succession to support Taiwan’s diplomacy, defense, economy and international space
In addition to countering China, deepening cooperation with and showing support for Taiwan has become an issue on which the Democratic and Republican parties have once again gathered a high degree of consensus. The security situation in the Taiwan Strait has also been a recurring topic of congressional hearings in recent years.
Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) of Missouri again joined other lawmakers on Wednesday (June 16) to introduce the Taiwan Defense Act, which aims to ensure that the United States maintains sufficient military capabilities to deter the People’s Republic of China from taking action against Taiwan. “The fait accompli strategy.
A “fait accompli” strategy is one in which China intends to seize control of Taiwan before U.S. military forces can effectively respond, while deterring U.S. forces and convincing the United States that countermeasures will be difficult or costly.
The bill is also co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and many other Republican members. The House version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a member of the same party.
Under Hawley’s Taiwan Defense Act, the bill would ensure that the U.S. fulfills its security commitments to Taiwan, deter China’s intention to violate Taiwan by force, and require the U.S. Department of Defense to submit regular annual reports to Congress.
In an interview with the Voice of America, Hawley said he believes the situation in the Taiwan Strait is becoming increasingly dangerous amid increasing Chinese military action.
“I think Beijing is getting more and more aggressive. Their military capabilities are increasing, and I think their determination to resolve the situation in Taiwan by capturing Taiwan is very, very real,” Hawley said, adding, “We’ve heard testimony from our admirals in the Indo-Pacific region about Beijing’s increasingly belligerent approach, and the timeline, the shorter and shorter timeline that Beijing is looking at to potentially capture Taiwan and so I think all of those reasons are important.”
Romney also shouted out to Beijing saying, “The consequences of coercive action against the people of Taiwan are not in their interest, they are not in the interest of the United States, and they are not in the interest of a peaceful world.”
On the House side, the bipartisan leaders of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Asia-Pacific Subcommittee formally proposed Thursday a strong advocacy for U.S. support for Taiwan on all fronts.
The Taiwan Peace and Stability Act, introduced by Democrat Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Republican Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), provides Taiwan with “diplomatic, economic and physical space support.”
The bill emphasizes the importance of stability. It calls on the Biden administration to produce a whole-of-government strategic report within 90 days on strengthening deterrence against cross-strait conflict and emphasizing cooperation with allies.
“Democracy in Taiwan is critical to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region. Yet, Beijing continues to recklessly isolate Taiwan from the international community and dramatically increase economic and military pressure on Taiwan,” Berra said in the statement. He also stressed that the bill would assist Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations, enhance U.S. economic ties with Taiwan, and deter Beijing’s military provocations.
According to Reuters, Berra said he expects a significant portion of the Taiwan bill to be included in the “Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act” (EAGLE Act) that will be discussed in the House of Representatives in the near future. The bill, introduced last month by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY), aims to help the United States respond to global competition with China.