6 US senators send letter to Trump admin urging action on China's meddling in Taiwan's elections

Rubio among 6 senators urging Trump administration to respond to China's interference in Taiwan's elections

  2497
Xi jinping (left), Tsai Ing-wen (right).

Xi jinping (left), Tsai Ing-wen (right). (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A bipartisan group of six U.S. senators, led by Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), sent a letter to key members of the Trump administration on Thursday (Dec. 13) urging action on allegations of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP's) interference in Taiwan's elections.

On Thursday, Senators Marco Rubio, Catherine Cortez Masto, Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chris Coons (D-DE), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote a letter directed at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray calling for the Trump administration to work with Taiwan on investigating the CCP's interference in Taiwan's elections held last month.

In the letter, the senators wrote that, based on the CCP's track record of trying to erode democracy around the world and threaten U.S. partnerships, the allegations of its interference with Taiwan's election should be urgently pursued. The letter states that Taiwan authorities and independent observers have alleged that in the build up to Taiwan's nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24, "the CCP used illegal funds and disinformation to influence the election results in favor of the CCP’s strategic interests."

The senators cite Taiwan authorities who said that one of the main tools of the CCP's interference was "illegal campaign contributions to pro-Beijing political candidates." The letter reports that Taiwan officials are investigating 33 cases of illegal funding from Beijing to Taiwanese political campaigns, and have conducted raids on illicit money exchanges channeling money to pro-China campaigns in Taiwan.

The letter then asserts that, if these allegations are true, they constitute a violation of Taiwan’s Political Donations Act and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area. The document also said that Taiwanese authorities are investigating individuals linked to the CCP for trying to bribe or coerce voters.

The senators then touched on the CCP's use of disinformation to sway the voting public away from candidates not in lockstep with China's interests. The letter mentions the CCP's use of social media platforms such as Facebook, LINE, and the Taiwanese online bulletin board PTT to spread disinformation. In the case of the latter, the sources of the disinformation campaigns have become apparent because they list IP address from China.

The letter then cites a statement by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scott Busby, made when visiting Taiwan in October, emphasizing the country's important role as shining light of democracy in the region:

“At a time of democratic backsliding and human rights abuses elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan serves as an invaluable model to others. And given the challenges we all face, it is especially important that democracies like Taiwan and the United States stand together in promoting a brighter future, free of repression, censorship, and exploitation.”

The document then closes by calling for the Trump administration to back Taiwan in its investigation of the allegations of China's interference in its elections and to take "necessary action in response."

On his Twitter page, Rubio today posted a tweet about the letter in which he reiterated the importance of investigating China's interference in Taiwan's election:

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs this morning sent separate tweets thanking both Rubio and Masto for sending the letter: