Senators Focus on Deterring China, Supporting Taiwan in Recent Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Around this time 45 years ago, the U.S. and Taiwan created a framework for our relationship with the tiny pacific island. That framework is known as the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). As China continues to threaten Taiwan’s independence, U.S. Senators said maintaining peace in the region is a top priority for international and U.S. Interests. 

“Our commitment remains a free and open Indo-Pacific and to oppose unilateral changes to the status quo from either side by force or coercion,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D- MD).  

In a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing, Senators focused on U.S. policy towards Taiwan. Senators said the TRA maintains peace, security and stability in the western Pacific. Senators worry aggressors like China threatens that peace by ramping up their military pressure to assert sovereignty claims over Taiwan.  

“The People’s Republic of China has been increasingly placing bellicose and utilizing gray zone tactics that seek to undermine the status quo across the Taiwan Strait,” said Sen. Van Hollen.  

An Assistant Secretary of State said China also tries to sever diplomatic relations to isolate the island.  

“Their objective is to pressure and coerce, intimidate and isolate Taiwan,” said Daniel Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. “And I believe picking off so to speak Taiwan’s diplomatic allies they can further those objectives.” 

For decades, the U.S. has maintained that they will come to Taiwan’s aid if they need it.  

“It is our hope Taiwan can be an aggressive competitor with China and with other nations, even with us, but not to be conquered by China,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R- UT). “And one of the reasons we are so anxious to help them invest in their own military might as the reason we invest in our military might is to assure there’s not temptation along the part for any nation, particularly China to take aggressive military action against our friends in Taiwan.”  

Experts caution against changing the framework with the TRA. They said it provides the U.S. enough tools to promote our interests in the region. They believe by working with allies and partners in the region will help maintain Taiwan’s security. On top of that, they believe the recent multi-billion dollar foreign aid deal for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific will build on that stability.   

“I think it sends a signal to would-be aggressors around the world of all kinds that we stand by our commitments and that we honor and respect the rights of democratic people to retain their freedoms and their vision for their own livelihoods,” said Sen. Romney.