Beijing has no right to decide or define how Taiwan engages with the world, Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday.
The interview came after a year of higher tensions with China, including China launching ballistic missiles over Taiwan and temporarily suspending most dialogue with the US after then-US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August.
Asked if new US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy should make good on his earlier pledge to visit Taiwan as well, Hsiao said. “That will be his decision. But I think ultimately the people of Taiwan have welcomed visitors from around the world.”
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
Beijing’s leadership “has no right to decide or define how we engage with the world,” she added.
Hsiao spoke at Twin Oaks, the more than 130-year-old hilltop mansion that Taiwan uses for official functions in Washington. She talked on a range of Taiwan-US military, diplomatic and trade relations issues shaped by intensifying rivalries with China.
No Taiwanese flag flew over the building, reflecting Taiwan’s in-between status as a US ally that nonetheless lacks full US diplomatic recognition. The US withdrew that in 1979, on the same day it recognized Beijing as the sole government of China.
In Washington, Taiwan’s self-rule is one issue that has strong support from both parties.
US administrations for decades have maintained a policy of leaving unsaid whether the US military would come to Taiwan’s defense if China did invade.
China’s military shows of force after Pelosi’s visit had some in the US Congress suggesting it was time for the US to abandon that policy, known as “strategic ambiguity,” and to instead make clear Americans would fight alongside Taiwan.
Asked about those calls on Friday, Hsiao only praised the existing policy.
“It has preserved the status quo for decades, or I should say it has preserved peace,” she said.
US President Joe Biden has repeatedly volunteered in public comments that the US would come to Taiwan’s defense, only to have aides walk that back with assurances that strategic ambiguity still prevails.
Meanwhile, after watching the Ukrainians’ successful hard-scrabble defense against invading Russian forces, Taiwan realizes it needs to load up on Javelins, Stingers, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and other small, mobile weapons systems, Hsiao said.
The Taiwanese and Americans have reached agreement on some of those, she said.
Taiwan is pushing to make sure that a shift to grittier, lower-tech weapon supplies for Taiwanese ground forces “happens as soon as possible,” Hsiao said.
Even with the US and other allies pouring billions of dollars of such weapons into Ukraine for the active fight there, straining global arms stocks, “we are assured by our friends in the United States that Taiwan is a very important priority,” she said.
Taiwan has learned important lessons from Ukraine’s war that would help it deter any attack by China or defend itself if invaded, she said.
Among the lessons: Do more to prepare military reservists and also civilians for the kind of all-of-society fight that Ukrainians are waging against Russia.
“Everything we’re doing now is to prevent the pain and suffering of the tragedy of Ukraine from being repeated in our scenario in Taiwan,” she said. “So ultimately, we seek to deter the use of military force. But in a worst-case scenario, we understand that we have to be better prepared.”
Ukraine’s experience has had lessons for the US and other allies as well, she said, including the importance of a united allied stand behind threatened democracies.
“It’s critical to send a consistent message to the authoritarian leaders that force is never an option ... force will be met by a strong international response, including consequences,” Hsiao said.
Hsiao would not directly address a report by Nikkei Asia on Friday that US National Guard members had begun work training in Taiwan, saying only that Taiwan was exploring ways to work with the guard members to improve training.
COMMITMENT: The world’s biggest contract chipmaker said that its new 2nm chips, as well as next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4nm chips, will be produced in Taiwan Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said that the majority of its most advanced chips would continue to be manufactured in Taiwan and that it is boosting advanced chip packaging capacity to catch up with fast-growing demand driven by generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications like ChatGPT. Deeply rooted in Taiwan, TSMC is expanding production capacity for its most advanced 3-nanometer (nm) chips at its Tainan fab and is building new plants to produce new 2-nanometer chips in Hsinchu and Taichung in 2025. The chipmaker also plans to produce next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4-nanometer chips, which are currently under development, at home, it
Former US president Donald Trump has been indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, a remarkable development that makes him the first former US president to face criminal charges by the federal government that he once oversaw. The US Department of Justice was expected to make public a seven-count indictment ahead of a historic court appearance next week amid a presidential campaign punctuated by criminal prosecutions in multiple states. The indictment carries unmistakably grave legal consequences, including the possibility of prison if Trump is convicted. It also has enormous political implications, potentially upending a Republican presidential primary that Trump
PASSAGE DISPUTE: A US and Canadian transit was a provocation and an attempt to ‘exercise hegemony of navigation,’ China’s defense ministry told a forum in Singapore The Ministry of National Defense yesterday urged the Chinese Communist Party to avoid provocative behavior after a Chinese navy ship crossed the paths of a US destroyer and Canadian frigate transiting the Taiwan Strait. A Chinese ship on Saturday “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of [the USS] Chung-Hoon,” an American destroyer, the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement. The vessel “overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards [137m]. Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 [knots, 18.5kph] to avoid a collision,” the statement said. It then “crossed Chung-Hoon’s bow a second time
HARD-WON FREEDOM: Beijing’s 1989 crackdown on protesters has not been and should not be forgotten, as China tightens its grip on Hong Kong, Lai said Taiwanese enjoy democracy and freedom and have multiple ways to express their creativity, and hopefully young people in China would also one day have the freedom to sing and express themselves, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s bloody crackdown on student-led protests in Beijing in 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident. Tsai posted a photograph taken in March in a subway station in Guizhou, China, where hundreds of young people gathered to sing People With No Ideals Don’t Get Hurt (沒有理想的人不傷心), saying that they