Congressman's View: Standing up for Taiwan is standing up for American ideals
From the column: "Our visit to Taiwan came amid escalating acts of Chinese aggression toward the democratic, self-ruled island."
As we set foot on the tarmac in Taiwan, with thousands of people lining the midnight streets to welcome us, I turned back to look at our military aircraft, with the illuminated American flag on its tail. Just as the American flag serves as a beacon of freedom across the world, so too does Taiwan serve as a beacon of democracy against the growing aggression and autocracy of the People’s Republic of China.
It was for that reason that I, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and four of my colleagues from the House of Representatives, felt the need to visit Taipei, despite the threats from Beijing. We went to show our support for the people of Taiwan and to demonstrate that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will not be allowed to dictate its security — or ours.
Taiwan’s inclusive, vibrant democracy and advanced economy, which is growing faster than China’s and produces more than half the world’s microchips, cannot be allowed to fall at the hands of the CCP. So far, the government in Beijing has met President Tsai Ing-wen’s efforts toward de-escalation with only growing belligerence.
Our visit to Taiwan came amid escalating acts of Chinese aggression toward the democratic, self-ruled island. Over the last few years, Taiwan’s government reports that China has launched daily cyberattacks on its government agencies, while also increasing incursions into Taiwan’s air-defense zone. This all comes as Beijing also mounts additional economic pressure on Taipei by limiting tourism from the mainland and by coercing global corporations to sever ties with the island.
The autocratic and oppressive behavior of the CCP occurs within China’s borders, too. As Beijing dismantles what remains of Hong Kong’s autonomy, it also continues its horrific campaign of genocide against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, while restricting freedom of expression and the press for all its citizens.
During our visit, we conveyed how the CHIPS and Science Act, which recently passed Congress, will benefit both our economies and national-security interests, as Taiwanese firms have committed to spend billions to develop new facilities in the United States.
Taiwan is not simply a member of the community of democracies; through its chip industry, it’s an essential partner in the arsenals and economies of democracy. If Taiwan and its chip-manufacturing industry were put at risk, there would be dramatic economic and security implications for the free world, including the United States. We must preserve peace across the Taiwan Strait by fulfilling our obligation under the Taiwan Relations Act to ensure Taiwan’s right to self-defense.
The rising tide of autocracy is a threat that must drive us to strengthen our ties to our friends rather than to abandon them to hostile powers. As we’ve shown unwavering support for Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s brutal and unjustified invasion, along with partners including Taiwan, so, too, must the United States be steadfast in its commitment to support other democracies threatened by authoritarian governments across the world.
That’s why our delegation’s visit also brought us to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan, where we were able to honor relationships and continue dialogues to strengthen our economic and security cooperation. When we join with democracies to form a united front, our strengths and values stand as an example — as well as a warning — to autocratic governments across the world, including in Beijing and Moscow.
Now, as we watch China follow through on its threat of large-scale military exercises, our congressional delegation’s visit should serve as an unequivocal statement that the United States will stand firm against the ambitions of military autocracies — and behind Taiwan, our partner in democracy.
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.