US Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential hopeful, has accused the administration of US President Barack Obama of ignoring Taiwan’s interests, “including its urgent need for defensive arms.”
It is the first time that Taiwan had been seriously introduced into the US presidential campaign.
“In the face of Chinese coercion, the United States must reassert its commitment to Taiwan’s security,” Rubio, who is co-chairman of the Congressional Executive Commission on China, said in a statement on Sunday.
“It has been four years since the White House notified Congress of a major arms sale to Taiwan, the longest period without such a notification in over 25 years,” he said.
The statement was in response to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) meeting in Singapore on Saturday.
Following the last televised Republican debate, Rubio surged in the polls, although he remains behind the two leading “outsider” candidates, business mogul Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
He is ahead of one-time favorite former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and, despite a potential financial scandal, the US press is reporting that “establishment” Republicans are gravitating to Rubio.
It remains to be seen if the leading Democratic hopefuls, former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, will respond to Rubio’s comments about Taiwan.
Referring to the Singapore meeting, Rubio said that he welcomed cross-strait dialogue that furthers peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The US should also welcome Chinese President Xi’s recognition that stability is best served by dealing with Taiwan as an equal partner,” Rubio said. “Such bilateral engagement at the highest levels should be the new norm in cross-strait relations, regardless of who is in power in Taipei.”
Rubio went on to say that Washington must remain “clear-eyed” about China’s intentions.
He said the timing of the meeting suggested a Chinese attempt to influence Taiwan’s presidential elections.
“Beijing should refrain from any efforts to interfere in Taiwan’s democratic political processes,” Rubio said.
“This meeting, moreover, should not distract from the fact that China has for decades pursued a coercive policy towards Taiwan, isolating it from the international community and directly threatening it with more than 1,000 missiles aimed at the island,” he said.
Rubio said that Taiwan had shown the world that traditional Chinese culture and democracy could coexist and even flourish.
“Taiwan’s continued existence as a vibrant, prosperous democracy in the heart of Asia is crucial to American security interests there and to the continued expansion of liberty and free enterprise in the region,” he said.
The US must do more to help Taiwan counter the growing military threat from China, he said.
“Instead of focusing on petty bilateral trade disputes, the US should be pushing for Taiwan’s eventual inclusion in additional international organizations and trade agreements,” he said.
“We too must engage with Taiwan at higher levels to ensure peace and stability across the Strait,” he said.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
CAUTION: Taiwan had zero cases of death from food poisoning for six years until last year, when two people died after eating wildlife, an FDA official said The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged the public not to eat wildlife or unidentified wild plants, as they could be fatal, with nearly 7,000 people affected by food poisoning last year, including two deaths due to wildlife consumption. The number of food poisoning incidents increased by nearly 50 percent last year, from 398 cases involving 4,616 people in the previous year to 503 cases involving 6,944 people, FDA data showed. That figure was the second-highest in history, the FDA said, adding that the highest number was recorded in 1997, with 7,235 people. Among the 503 cases, 87 were food poisoning clusters