2nd Dec 2023


Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter

  • Dr Ming-Yen Tsai: 'The Republic of China (Taiwan) is an independent, sovereign country. Taiwan has never been part of the People's Republic of China' (Photo: Screengrab)
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US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan on 2-3 August, accompanied by five key congressional colleagues, including the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, and the vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Indeed, Speaker Pelosi and the members of her delegation have long been concerned with the development of democracy in Taiwan and security in the Indo-Pacific region.

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  • The disputed island of Taiwan, as seen from space by NASA (Photo: NASA/Wikimedia)

This visit to Taiwan underscores the high level of bipartisan support for US-Taiwan relations and Taiwan is sincere in its welcome to Pelosi and her delegation.

Speaker Pelosi's op-ed in the Washington Post illustrates why this trip to Taiwan is so important and lays clear the motivation behind it.

She emphasises that her visit to Taiwan was to honour her commitment to democracy, especially as Taiwan was ranked by Freedom House as one of the world's freest democracies.

In the piece, she also notes that Taiwan is a leader in many areas, such as the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, support for environmental conservation and climate action, promotion of peace and security, economic dynamism, innovation and technology.

In the face of China's growing threat to Taiwan, Pelosi clearly states that the United States must reaffirm its commitment to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act and never allow any non-peaceful means to determine Taiwan's future.

In no uncertain terms, Speaker Pelosi spells out that the United States must stand with Taiwan, the "Island of Resilience," to advance the common interests of both sides so that the freedoms of Taiwan and all democratic societies are respected.

In recent days, Taiwan has strongly protested and condemned China's irrational and internationally unjustifiable threats against Taiwan based on its opposition to Pelosi's visit.

China is attempting to pressure the international community to abandon its support for Taiwan through campaigns of high-intensity intimidation and retaliation to imagined slights.

However, we can see that the more pressure China puts on Taiwan, the stronger the international community's concern is over cross-strait security and the stronger its support is for Taiwan.

Support from MEPs and G7

Indeed, on 3 August, the foreign ministers of the G7 countries issued a joint statement reiterating their support for a rules-based international order and peace in the Taiwan Strait, and arguing that China's military exercises and economic coercion against Taiwan have created unnecessary tension and risk in the region.

Likewise, in the days since Pelosi's visit, over 30 MEPs have spoken out in support of Pelosi and Taiwan, including the vice-president of the European Parliament Nicola Beer, who recently completed a visit of her own to Taiwan in July, and stressed that Europe must never be late to act in regards to Taiwan.

Michael Gahler, spokesman on foreign affairs for the European People's Party, stated that parliamentarians from the democratic world should visit Taiwan regularly to express their support for a democratic society and government in Taiwan and, more importantly, not accept the intimidation of communist regimes.

Similarly, Reinhard Bütikofer, chair of the parliament's delegation for relations with China, also emphasised that democracies should unite their efforts against the Chinese threat and called for the EU's Taiwan policy to be more attentive to Chinese actions and to cooperate fully with the US.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) is an independent, sovereign country. Taiwan has never been part of the People's Republic of China.

China's frequent use of military force and economic coercion against Taiwan is not only a threat to this island state's security, but also to the stability of the Indo-Pacific region as a whole.

Taiwan will continue to strengthen its self-defence capabilities and economic resilience, and will assert its sovereignty and security, while at the same time enhancing cooperation with like-minded countries to defend a rules-based international order.

As Pelosi said, Taiwan is an "island of resilience". That will continue to be the case. Taiwan will continue striving to be a stabilising force for regional security and continue to hold aloft the torch of freedom and democracy, as a beacon, on the frontline against authoritarianism.

Author bio

Dr Ming-Yen Tsai is head of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium.


The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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