TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In a lecture to American political scientists and security experts, Taiwan representative to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) elaborated on how important Taiwan is to the U.S. and the Indo-Pacific region.
The lecture on Indo-Pacific peace took place in the Center of East Asian Studies at University of Wisconsin on Friday (Oct. 1), in a state that depends on agriculture and the beef industry. With her eloquent, forceful, and sometimes humorous style of speech, Hsiao established a common ground for bilateral agricultural trade, with an emphasis on farmers' livelihoods.
"Taiwan is the eighth largest consumer of American agriculture products and its people consume more American beef than all the other Southeast Asian states combined," the envoy said.
"Taiwan is only second to Canada in terms of per capita beef consumption," she added, highlighting the close ties between Taiwanese and American businesses.
Democracy, Hsiao said, is something that matters to both countries. "The country's very existence proves that communist China's narrative that democracy is incompatible in Asia is false," she noted.
Hsiao pointed out that Taiwan's prosperity and democracy are under threat, citing China's increasingly belligerent behavior in the Taiwan Strait and social media-focused cognitive warfare, which spreads disinformation. Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the US expressed concerns that China is undermining stability in the strait and trying to wear down the population and "their confidence in our democracy with a dump of misinformation."
In addition to the traditional security threat posed by Beijing against Taiwan, non-traditional and "gray zone tactics" are taking center stage, making the threat even more serious, Hsiao said. Any non-peaceful actions to determine the future of Taiwan should be considered a regional threat and are a grave concern to the U.S.
Hsiao called for continuing U.S. support of Taiwan to maintain its own defensive capabilities, in order to deter any force that endangers Taiwan's security and its social and economic systems. A threat to Taiwan is a threat to regional security, Hsiao added.
The de-facto ambassador believes the U.S.' defense commitments and support for Taiwan's security can keep the peace in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, she said the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration "has no intention, nor are we able to engage in an arms race with the People's Republic of China."
Hsiao said Taiwan is looking for asymmetrical military capabilities to deter China. She also took the opportunity to thank Joe Biden and his administration for their commitment to Taiwan and its ability to defend itself. She added that she was glad to see there is a growing international consensus about peace and stability in the strait.
On the podium where Hsiao was speaking on Friday there was a banner that read: "Taiwan Ambassador."