Editor’s note: Yesterday in the first part of a two-part series we had Najee’s take on the recent signing of the TAIPEI Act.
This morning it is the turn of our columnist Yu Shen Cheng, one of our observers of Taiwanese society and politics.
The Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act was signed into law by President Trump on Thursday, March 26th, an act essentially aimed at supporting Taiwan’s international presence.
Since the inauguration of President Tsai Ing-Wen in 2016, Taiwan has lost seven diplomatic allies to China, leaving only 15 countries with official ties to the politically-isolated country.
What It Does
The TAIPEI Act, as is, requires the U.S. government to strengthen Taiwan’s diplomatic relations with other partners in the Indo-Pacific region whilst engaging less with nations that undermine the security and prosperity of Taiwan.
As such, the bill can be seen as a form of strong support for Taiwan’s eventual inclusion in the international community.
Aside from its political significance, in the short-term, the TAIPEI Act might even carry more importance economically as it also calls on U.S. authorities to enhance their economic cooperation with Taiwan.
The U.S. over time will also advocate for Taiwanese participation in appropriate international organizations as an observer or full member, although the U.S. creates a certain level of ambiguity by not immediately clarifying which organizations it deems as ‘appropriate.’
Points To Note
As for improving diplomatic ties, Taiwan’s government must bear in mind that the U.S. reserves the right to decide when to alter its economic, security, and diplomatic engagement with nations that take serious or significant actions to undermine the security or prosperity of Taiwan.
In other words, only in certain cases, and as the U.S. deems fit will it act accordingly.
To this end, therefore, Taiwan should utilize U.S. support wisely to best enhance official or semi official partnerships with other countries and the in international arena as a whole. This needs to be done while combatting the increasing levels of stress put on Taiwan’s existing relationships with others from Beijing.
The preference for closer ties between U.S. and Taiwan is a strong methodology the Taiwanese government can build upon to create more opportunities to engage in international affairs, and to develop deeper partnerships with other major countries in a quest for international collaboration whist also improving the security of, and prosperity on the island.
Former Taiwan Rep to U.S. Speaks
Liu Shih-Chieh, a former Taiwanese representative to the United States, stated on a Facebook post that the actual effect of the TAIPEI Act on Taiwan’s inclusion to international organizations could be observed at the 72nd World Health Assembly meeting in May, a COVID-19 possible delay notwithstanding.
Also, if China continues to poach Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, doing so will violate the law and the sitting U.S. administration needs to report its subsequent response in the Congress.
While China might not put an end to the diplomatic wranglings it forces on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the TAIPEI Act will force the Chinese government to take the consequences into consideration.
However, the act alone doesn’t change the U.S. One China Policy; it only brings changes to the substance, indicating that with time the existing One China Policy will become more Taiwan-friendly.