- - Thursday, May 30, 2019


The United States and Taiwan share a long history as partners for good in a changing world. We have cooperated in recent years through the Taiwan-U.S. Global Cooperation and Training Framework on such issues as energy security, law enforcement, media literacy, public health, humanitarian assistance and women’s empowerment. Our work has produced results all over the globe, from alleviating suffering caused by Ebola outbreaks in Africa to housing displaced refugees in the Middle East.

Our partnership is founded on the Taiwan Relations Act. Enacted by the United States on April 10, 1979, the law has served as the cornerstone of our relationship, ensuring a peaceful, stable environment in which Taiwan has developed into a thriving democracy and one of the world’s leading economies.

Moreover, Taiwan has risen as a responsible stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific. It contributes to maintaining peace and stability in the region, and its “warm power” has proven a positive force in the international community. Even as parts of the world are witnessing the retreat of freedom and democracy, Taiwan was once again ranked by Freedom House as one of the freest countries in 2019, and by the Heritage Foundation in its latest Index of Economic Freedom as having one of the world’s most liberal economies. All of this goes to show that freedom and democracy can thrive in an ethnic Chinese society.

China’s future looms as one of the major open questions of the 21st century. Last year, Vice President Mike Pence offered one vision of how things may turn out. As he stated at the Hudson Institute, “America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people.”

Today, Taiwan faces many challenges, due largely to attempts by China to suppress the Taiwanese people. Beijing’s continuing denial of the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has prevented a resolution of the political impasse across the Taiwan Strait. Citing its so-called “one China principle,” China has sought to coerce Taiwan by both military and diplomatic means. China blocks Taiwan’s participation in international organizations. Having sought and gained influential positions in international institutions, the PRC is able to manipulate their operations, as well as reshape the rules-based international order to fit China’s own interests.

Therefore, the shadow cast by China extends beyond just Taiwan. Thankfully, more and more like-minded countries, such as the United States, are firmly expressing a wide range of support. Taiwan looks forward to continued U.S. leadership to push back against all forms of military, political, and economic coercion as together we defend our many shared values, not least of which are freedom, democracy and human rights.

Our partnership under the Taiwan Relations Act, now 40 years strong, is robust, healthy, and growing ever closer. Taiwan has much more to share with the world in the realms of public health, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, women’s empowerment, and democratic governance. Taiwan stands willing and ready to do more in partnership with the United States and other principled nations in the years to come. Together, there’s no obstacle we cannot overcome.

• Su Tseng-chang is the premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

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