TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Taiwan’s envoy to the U.S., published an article in the Washington, D.C.-based publication National Interest on Thursday (Oct. 8) saying support from the U.S. and like-minded countries was critical given China's increasing threats.
In her article, "Taiwan's Resilience Shows the Power of Freedom and Democracy," Hsiao said the rapidly changing geo-strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific region has made the status quo in the Taiwan Strait more complicated. Entrenched on the frontline of defense against China’s growing military coercion, Hsiao believes Taiwan actively seeks asymmetrical combat power to deter an invasion by the Chinese People's Liberation Army's (PLA) and “protect its hard-won democratic way of life.”
She expressed her gratitude to the U.S. for maintaining its security commitments to Taiwan on the basis of the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances. She also thanked the U.S. government for normalizing arms sales to Taiwan.
She mentioned that the recent sale of F-16V fighter jets has helped Taiwan improve the defense of its airspace and resist intruding Chinese military planes. Hsiao stated that given the formidable challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, “Taiwan will continue to seek security cooperation with the U.S.”
She then wrote that she is grateful to the U.S. Congress, which for decades has been the driving force behind strong Taiwan-U.S. relations. Hsiao also argued that both U.S. political parties have supported the island nation by passing a number of Taiwan-friendly Acts and calling for the promotion of a Taiwan-US Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA).
This, she said, has created the necessary infrastructure for U.S.-Taiwan economic and trade relations. It has also strengthened supply chain security between the two countries.
As for the economy, Hsiao pointed out that in the first half of 2020, Taiwan became the ninth-largest trading partner of the U.S. She added that to further strengthen bilateral trade, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) recently announced the removal of market access barriers.
Hsiao described Taiwan as a “responsible member of the international community” that provides humanitarian assistance and public healthcare. The nation’s contributions and successes in fighting the Wuhan coronavirus once again show the necessity of including Taiwan in groups such as the World Health Organization (WHO).
She noted that in addition to sharing epidemic prevention measures, Taiwan has also donated tens of millions of medical masks, personal protective equipment, and medical equipment to more than 80 countries. “Taiwan should have a place in the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA),” Hsiao remarked.
The diplomat then pointed to Undersecretary of the US State Department Keith Krach’s Taiwan visit. She said this demonstrates a strong and stable partnership between Taiwan and the U.S.
She added that it also lays a solid foundation for discussions on future security technology, energy infrastructure, and global supply chain restructuring. Additionally, the partnership has produced a joint declaration on 5G security and a framework to strengthen infrastructure and market building cooperation.
Hsiao said that freedom and democracy are “part of Taiwan's DNA.” These fundamental and common values connect Taiwan with the international community and link Taiwan with the U.S.
“Taiwan will continue to shine (in) the light of freedom and democracy around the globe,” Hsaio said. She concluded that Taiwan and its partner countries would continue to safeguard the rules-based international order and maintain peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.