Amid CCP Aggression, Lawmakers Urge D.C. To Adopt Taipei as Sister City

Kevin McCarthy greets Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
May 13, 2024

Amid Chinese efforts to isolate Taiwan on the international stage, a group of lawmakers in Congress are urging the Washington, D.C., government to adopt Taipei as a sister city, saying it would "send a clear message that we will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to dictate who we call our friends."

Led by Rep. John Moolenaar (R., Mich.), chair of the House Select Committee on China, the lawmakers are petitioning Democratic D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser to officially classify Taipei as one of Washington’s sister cities, a symbolic partnership that the lawmakers say will help boost Taiwan’s standing with America’s national capital, according to a draft copy of the letter that will be sent to Bowser this week.

"Though it might seem a small and largely symbolic step, establishing sister-city ties would go a long way in demonstrating that the people of the United States, and Washington, D.C., in particular, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those in Taiwan," the lawmakers write, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. "It will send a clear message that we will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to dictate who we call our friends."

The letter—which is also backed by senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Pete Ricketts (R., Neb.) and Rep. Andy Barr (R., Ky.)—comes amid a global campaign by China to undermine Taiwan’s independence and set the stage for a potential invasion of the island territory. The CCP has long been interested in reunification with Taiwan and has repeatedly run war drills that signal it is preparing to take the territory by force. China also has reportedly divested heavily from America in what some experts see as preparations for a possible military campaign.

A decision by the D.C. government to include Taipei as a sister city would signal to China that America is not afraid to stand with Taiwan amid Chinese aggression, the lawmakers wrote. The Chinese capital of Beijing is currently one of several foreign cities already members of D.C.’s sister city program.

"We understand that there may be those in the international community who would object to this measure, however, the United States should never allow the threat of verbal retaliation and rebuke to dictate our actions," the letter reads. "Allowing fear of others’ reactions to determine our policy would only reaffirm said parties’ belief that intimidation is an effective tool of statecraft."

The letter comes just a month after the 45th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, a law that promotes close economic cooperation between the United States and Taiwan and seeks to maintain stability there.

"Far too often," the lawmakers write to the D.C. government, "our Taiwanese friends have been left isolated on the international stage, and a pact with the capital of the United States and a voice of the free world would show the international community that Taiwan is not alone."