Rep. Yoho Calls for Strengthening U.S. Ties to Taiwan

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen / Getty Images
June 16, 2017

Rep. Ted Yoho (R., Fl.) called for Congress to adopt legislature supporting Taiwan in face of Chinese threats at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday.

Since the United States signed the One China policy in 1972, the People's Republic of China has replaced the Soviet Union as the United States' global adversary. Yoho said this shift should change our attitude toward China's sphere of influence, especially Taiwan.

"It's important for Congress to consider whether our policies are serving us well and how we might improve them, in particularly how improving our assurances to Taiwan can continue our steadfast support," he said.

The committee said supporting Taiwan both economically and militarily has become more critical in past few days, in light of Panama's switch from recognizing Taiwan as the legitimate Chinese power to the PRC as the legitimate power.

The PRC has marginalized the sovereign claims of Taiwan, whose geographical location could pose a threat to China. Most countries do not recognize Taiwan, but have established back routes to trade and engage with the nation. But according to director of Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute Dan Blumenthal, favoring the PRC over Taiwan is no longer in United States' interests.

"We are in essence acquiescing to Chinese imperialism. In the 21st century, we don't see the United States or other countries allowing for these sorts of imperial claims," he said.

Yoho acknowledged the diplomatic difficulty of strengthening economic ties without recognizing Taiwan as a legitimate power, but still urged for facilitating a greater ease of interaction between the two countries.

"We should work harder—not necessarily to recognize the sovereignty of Taiwan—but to recognize Taiwan as who they are and not to sideline them with the One China Policy because they'll have to deal with that, as they're only ten miles off the coast," he said.

U.S.-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert J. Hammond-Chambers said Taiwan's commitment to democracy and protecting human rights makes it a more suitable trade partner for the United States than it has been previously.

"Taiwan is well-placed to partner with this administration and this congress in exploring and partnering in new bilateral trade deals, including the possibility of signing a fair trade agreement," he said.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D., Calif.) said that in the future, the United States cannot operate from a position of weakness with regard to Taiwan.

"Taiwan will not be used as a bargaining chip with China," he said.

Published under: China , Taiwan