Washington Post Op-Ed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Why I’m Leading a Congressional Delegation to Taiwan

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, is Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Forty-three years ago, the United States Congress overwhelmingly passed — and President Jimmy Carter signed into law — the Taiwan Relations Actone of the most important pillars of US foreign policy in Asia-Pacific.

The Taiwan Relations Act sets out America’s commitment to a democratic Taiwan, providing the framework for an economic and diplomatic relationship that will quickly grow into a key partnership. He fostered a deep friendship rooted in shared interests and values: self-determination and self-government, democracy and freedom, human dignity and human rights.

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And he made a solemn vow for the United States to support the defense of Taiwan: “to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by means other than peaceful means…a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific and a grave concern in the United States.”

Today, America must remember this vow. We must stand with Taiwan, which is an island of resilience. Taiwan is a leader in governance: currently, in fighting the covid-19 pandemic and advocating for environmental conservation and climate action. It is a leader in peace, security and economic dynamism: with an entrepreneurial spirit, a culture of innovation and technological prowess that are the envy of the world.

Yet what is troubling is that this vibrant and robust democracy — dubbed one of the freest in the world by Freedom House and proudly led by a woman, President Tsai Ing-wen, is under threat.

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In recent years, Beijing has dramatically escalated tensions with Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has stepped up patrols of bombers, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft near and even over the Taiwan air defense zone, the US Department of Defense to conclude that the Chinese military is “probably preparing a contingency to unify Taiwan with the PRC by force”.

The PRC has also led the fight in cyberspace, launching dozens of attacks against Taiwanese government agencies every day. At the same time, Beijing is exerting economic pressure on Taiwan, pressuring global companies to cut ties with the island, intimidating countries that cooperate with Taiwan and cracking down on tourism from the PRC.

In the face of accelerating aggression by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), our delegation’s visit to Congress should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends himself and defends his freedom.

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Our visit — one of many congressional delegations to the island — in no way contradicts the long-standing one-China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, joint U.S.-Chinese communiqués and the six insurances. The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo.

Our visit is part of our broader Pacific journey – including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan – focused on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance. Our discussions with our Taiwanese partners will focus on reaffirming our support for the island and promoting our common interests, including promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region. America’s solidarity with Taiwan is more important today than ever – not only for the island’s 23 million people, but also for millions of others oppressed and threatened by the PRC.

Thirty years ago, I traveled in a bipartisan Congressional delegation to China, where in Tiananmen Square we unfurled a black-and-white banner that read, “To those who died for democracy in China.” . Uniformed police chased us as we left the square. Since then, Beijing’s abysmal human rights record and disregard for the rule of law has continued as President Xi Jinping tightens his grip on power.

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The CCP’s brutal crackdown on political freedoms and human rights in Hong Kong – including the arrest of Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen – has thrown promises of “one country, two systems” into the trash. In Tibet, the CCP has a long-standing campaign to erase the language, culture, religion and identity of the Tibetan people. In Xinjiang, Beijing is committing genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities. And across the continent, the CCP continues to target and arrest activists, religious freedom leaders, and others who dare challenge the regime.

We cannot sit idly by as the CCP continues to threaten Taiwan – and democracy itself.

Indeed, we are embarking on this journey at a time when the world is faced with a choice between autocracy and democracy. As Russia wages its premeditated and illegal war against Ukraine, killing thousands of innocent people – even children – it is essential that America and our allies make it clear that we never give in to autocrats.

When I led a congressional delegation to Kyiv in April – the highest-level American visit to the beleaguered nation – I let President Volodymyr Zelensky know that we admired his people’s defense of democracy for Ukraine. and for democracy in the world.

By traveling to Taiwan, we honor our commitment to democracy: reaffirming that the freedoms of Taiwan — and of all democracies — must be respected.

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