TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A position paper from the U.S. think tank, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), published on April 8, just days ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) on April 10, calls for strengthened diplomatic and military ties between the U.S. and Taiwan.
The AEI position paper, entitled “The Taiwan Relations Act at 40: It’s time to deepen ties” calls for updating the TRA “in a way that reflects the deep historical ties” between the two nations.
The paper outlines the history of U.S. Taiwan relations and the circumstances of the TRA’s adoption under the Carter Administration, followed by the “Six Assurances” later introduced during the Reagan Administration.
Recognizing China’s military build-up and its increasingly aggressive campaign to suppress Taiwan’s presence internationally, the article calls for the Trump Administration, the Pentagon, and Congress to do their part to not only honor the TRA and Six assurances, but to actively strengthen U.S.-Taiwan ties, with respect to the unique and important relationship that the two countries have developed over the past 50 plus years.
In the paper, authors Gary Schmitt, who previously served as the president of the Project for a New American Century from 2002-2005, and Jamie Fly, the current Director of the German Marshall Fund, suggest reinvigorating “the spirit of the Act by pursuing a multi-pronged agenda for the U.S.-Taiwan relationship.”
They suggest four strategic points for such an agenda.
1. The U.S. should initiate negotiations with Taipei on a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement as quickly as possible.
2. The State Department of the Trump Administration should direct officials of all ranks to meet with Taiwanese leaders and military personnel, and the U.S. should make the Director of the AIT a Senate-confirmed political position.
3. The Pentagon should regularize arms sales to Taiwan, and invite the Taiwanese military to participate in exercises with U.S. troops to ensure the two forces are able to operate together effectively.
4. In response to China’s campaign of political repression, Congress should ensure that U.S. partners and allies understand that promoting diplomatic ties and cooperation with Taiwan is a priority for U.S. policy, with potential impact on foreign aid for third party nations.
The AEI report also remarks on Taiwan’s importance as a vibrant democracy in Asia, and on the strategic geographic position Taiwan holds in the region.
"In a crisis, Taiwan could be a key partner in containing the Chinese military within the first island chain and preventing it from exerting significant reach into the Western Pacific."
The full report from AEI can be read on the official webpage.