WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today published an op-ed in the New York Times on the critical window of opportunity for the U.S. Congress to enact a more forward leaning policy to defend Taiwan. Citing Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, as well as the unprecedented unity among democratic nations against Putin’s own incursion into Ukraine, Chairman Menendez makes the moral and strategic case for safeguarding Taiwan’s democracy through his bipartisan Taiwan Policy Act of 2022.
Read the full op-ed here. Key sections below.
Vladimir Putin’s brutal attack on his Ukrainian neighbors has sparked global outrage — and forged unprecedented unity — among the democratic nations of the world. Not so with Xi Jinping, the hypernationalist president of the People’s Republic of China. Rather, he is no doubt taking notes and learning lessons from Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine to apply to his plans for Taiwan.
The United States and our partners in the international community need to do the same to develop and put in place a new and more resilient strategy for Taiwan while there is still time.
The moral and strategic case for standing with Taiwan, whose people share our interests and our values could not be clearer. China is carrying out influence campaigns against Taiwan using cyberattacks and disinformation, deploying propaganda to reinforce its “one China” message, spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories to divide Taiwanese society and make it easier to gain control of the island. This is a plan of attack eerily reminiscent of Mr. Putin’s in Ukraine.
Moreover, Beijing’s recent threats over Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan were as predictable as they were indicative of Mr. Xi’s truculence. But the United States must be clear: Using her visit as an excuse for performative sound and fury is simply that: a pretext for more aggressive steps that China has been preparing to take anyway. That is why Ms. Pelosi was right in not letting China decide who can and cannot visit Taiwan. The result of Beijing’s bluster should be to stiffen resolve in Taipei, in Washington and across the region. There are many strategies to continue standing up to Chinese aggression; there is clear bipartisan congressional agreement on the importance of acting now to provide the people of Taiwan with the type of support they desperately need.
That is why I have worked with Senator Lindsey Graham to introduce the bipartisan Taiwan Policy Act of 2022.
Our legislation would reinforce the security of Taiwan by providing almost $4.5 billion in security assistance over the next four years and recognizing Taiwan as a “major non-NATO ally” — a powerful designation to facilitate closer military and security ties. It would also expand Taiwan’s diplomatic space through its participation in international organizations and in multilateral trade agreements.
The legislation would also take concrete steps to counter China’s aggressive influence campaigns, impose crippling economic costs if Beijing takes hostile action against Taiwan (such as financial, banking, visa and other sanctions) and reform American bureaucratic practices to bolster support for Taiwan’s democratic government. In short, this effort would be the most comprehensive restructuring of U.S. policy toward Taiwan since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.
While Beijing will likely rely on a planned narrative of blaming the United States for any aggression, the fact is that it’s China, not the United States, that has been steadily seeking to change the status quo with Taiwan.