Fri, Sep 14, 2018 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

From Monroe to TAIPEI act

On Friday last week, the US Department of State announced that Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Robin Bernstein, Ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes and Charge d’Affaires in Panama Roxanne Cabral were to return to Washington to meet with US leaders and discuss ways in which Washington can support strong, independent, democratic institutions and economies throughout Central America and the Caribbean.

Why were these ambassadors summoned by the State Department?

The recall of an ambassador usually signifies that the situation is serious. Some major events must have happened in the region. El Salvador cut ties with Taiwan last month, the Dominican Republic in May and Panama in June last year, and all three switched diplomatic recognition to China.

According to the US’ “one China” policy, the People’s Republic of China is recognized as the sole official representative of China. So, the severance of relations with the Republic of China is not what concerns the US.

Washington’s real concern is that China is stepping into the Caribbean and Central America, sparking deep concern in Washington over Beijing’s expanding influence in Latin America.

On Dec. 2, 1823, then-US president James Monroe declared that the US would recognize and not interfere with existing European colonies, nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries, but further efforts by European nations to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be viewed as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the US.

In 1962, then-US president John F. Kennedy cited the Monroe Doctrine as grounds for the US’ confrontation with the Soviet Union over the installation of Soviet ballistic missiles on Cuban soil.

It ended with all offensive missiles being withdrawn from Cuba.

Now that China is aggressively moving into Central America and the Caribbean, it has, of course, caused concern in the US, prompting it to consult its ambassadors.

The US’ Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI), a bipartisan legislative proposal introduced on Monday last week by Republican senators Cory Gardner and Marco Rubio, and Democratic senators Ed Markey and Bob Menendez, is intended to strengthen Taiwan’s standing in the world.

The TAIPEI act would require a US strategy to engage with governments around the world to support diplomatic recognition of or strengthen unofficial relations with Taiwan.

It would authorize the State Department to downgrade US relations with any government that takes adverse actions against Taiwan, including suspending or altering foreign assistance, such as military financing.

So, Taiwan’s diplomatic recognition, economics, trade and security are the concerns of the US. Taiwan should reach out to the world in the name of Taiwan.

Any threat from China to the existence of Taiwan would concern the US, because Taiwan is not part of China under the US’ “one China” policy.

The US has been very consistent on its global policy — from the Monroe Doctrine to the Taiwan Relations Act, the Taiwan Travel Act and now the proposed TAIPEI act.

They all help Taiwan to stand firmly in the world and to build a strong international alliance that enhances and protects Taiwan’s security and identity.

John Hsieh

Hayward, California

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