WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (WI-07) introduced legislation calling for the U.S. to resume formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and end the outdated and counter-productive “One China Policy.” The bill also directs the U.S. administration to support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations, and to initiate negotiations with Taipei on crafting a bilateral, U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement.
“For more than 40 years, American presidents of both political parties have repeated Beijing’s bogus lie that Taiwan is part of Communist China – despite the objective reality that it is not,” said Tiffany. “It is long past time that America consigned the ‘One China Policy’ to the dustbin of history.”
The U.S. maintained normal, friendly diplomatic relations with Taiwan until 1979, when then-President Jimmy Carter abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Taipei and recognized the Communist regime in Beijing – without legislative approval.
Congress responded by approving the bipartisan Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the cornerstone of continued U.S. economic and cultural relations between the two countries. The TRA also authorized the sale of defensive weapons to Taipei to enable the democratic island to protect itself from Chinese aggression. President Reagan upgraded the relationship during his term with the issuance of the “Six Assurances,” which made clear that the U.S. did not recognize Communist Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.
Despite the TRA and the “Six Assurances,” however, the U.S. still lacks formal ties with Taiwan, inexplicably treating the island’s democratically elected government the same way it treats brutal regimes in North Korea and Iran from a U.S. diplomatic relations perspective – and in a category worse than that of Cuba’s dictatorship, which President Obama and Vice President Biden recognized during their second term.
In recent years, President Trump’s administration has taken bold steps to initiate closer U.S.-Taiwan ties. Trump spoke directly to Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-Wen by telephone shortly after his election – the first such conversation between heads of state in more than 40 years. Trump also approved a robust arms sale to the island last year and recently dispatched the highest-level U.S. delegation to Taipei in nearly half-a-century. In 2018, the President signed bipartisan legislation lifting decades-old, bureaucratic restrictions on travel between Taiwan and the U.S. by senior officials from both nations, recently signaled an intent to initiate talks on a bilateral free trade agreement with Taiwan and is reportedly preparing another transfer of defensive arms.
“America doesn’t need a permission slip from the Chinese Communist Party to talk to its friends and partners around the world,” added Tiffany. “Now is the time for America to stop parroting Beijing’s ‘One China’ fantasy, and for U.S. policy to reflect the reality that Taiwan is a free, democratic and independent country.”
“If the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain can normalize relations with Israel, certainly we can formalize our enduring friendship with Taiwan,” Tiffany concluded.