US representative asks USIP to open a center on Taiwan

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

Wed, Oct 03, 2012 - Page 3

A member of the US Congress has asked the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to open a Center for Taiwan Security Analysis.

US Representative Robert Andrews believes the proposed center would make the island safer from Chinese aggression.

“In light of the growing military imbalance across the Taiwan Strait and the continuing threat posed by the PRC [People’s Republic of China], it is imperative that the US seek ways to reduce the probability of armed conflict,” Andrews said.

He has written to former US Congressman John Marshall, the new president of the institute, stressing that the Taiwan Strait remains a “major global flashpoint.”

Created by the US Congress in 1984, USIP has developed an international reputation.

Andrews has asked Marshall to establish the center “with the goal of conducting in-depth analysis on the US-China-Taiwan relationship through a conflict-prevention lens.”

“The people of Taiwan have established a vibrant and pluralistic democracy. As Americans we have reason to take pride in the democratic achievements of the Taiwanese people,” he wrote in the letter. “But its citizens live under the shadow of over 1,600 short and medium-range ballistic missiles armed by the PRC.”

Andrews argued that the US cannot afford to lose a democracy in the region and the people of Taiwan cannot afford to lose their safety, security, freedom and independence.

“Given the PRC’s unyielding military aggression toward Taiwan, this work [establishing a Center for Taiwan Security Analysis] would represent a critical addition to the Institute’s current programming, in line with its mission to prevent and mitigate international conflict,” Andrews said.

Formosa Association of Public Affairs president Mark Kao (高龍榮) issued a statement on Monday in support of Andrews’ letter.

“The USIP is renowned for its work in preventing and ending violent conflict, and there are few places where its insights and analysis are needed more than in the Taiwan Strait,” Kao said.

He added: “As recent events in East Asia have underscored the fragility of peace and stability in the waters surrounding Taiwan, it becomes clear that the protection of US interests requires a better understanding of the complex sources of potential conflict.”