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Following Historic China-Taiwan Meeting, Rubio Calls For Strengthening U.S.-Taiwan Relations

Nov 7, 2015 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), today issued the following statement regarding the meeting between the presidents of China and Taiwan:
 
“Today, the leaders of China and Taiwan met for the first time in more than sixty years. I welcome cross-Strait dialogue that furthers peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States should also welcome Chinese president Xi Jinping’s recognition that stability is best served by dealing with Taiwan as an equal partner.  Such bilateral engagement at the highest levels should be the new norm in cross-Strait relations, regardless of who is in power in Taipei.
 
“Even so, we must remain clear-eyed about China’s intentions. The timing of this meeting suggests a Chinese attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election that will be held in Taiwan in January 2016.  Beijing should refrain from any efforts to interfere in Taiwan’s democratic political processes.  This meeting, moreover, should not distract from the fact that China has for decades pursued a coercive policy towards Taiwan, isolating it from the international community and directly threatening it with more than 1,000 missiles aimed at the island, not to mention rapidly modernizing naval, air, and amphibious forces, which regularly train to invade the island.
 
“In the face of Chinese coercion, the United States must reassert its commitment to Taiwan’s security.  I have often said that through its success, Taiwan has shown the world that traditional Chinese culture and democracy can coexist and even flourish.  Taiwan’s continued existence as a vibrant, prosperous democracy in the heart of Asia is crucial to American security interests there and to the continued expansion of liberty and free enterprise in the region.
 
“Despite its supposed ‘pivot’ to Asia, the Obama administration has largely ignored Taiwan’s interests, including its urgent need for defensive arms.  It has been four years since the White House notified Congress of a major arms sale to Taiwan, the longest period without such a notification in over 25 years.  We must do more to help Taiwan counter the growing military threat from China.  In addition, instead of focusing on petty bilateral trade disputes, the United States should be pushing for Taiwan’s eventual inclusion in additional international organizations and trade agreements.  Finally, we should take the occasion of this meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan to enhance dialogue and strengthen our own ties with Taipei.  We too must engage with Taiwan at higher levels to ensure peace and stability across the Strait.
 
“Taiwan is one of America’s oldest and most steadfast security partners.  We need to work together to pursue our common interest in an Asia that is prosperous, peaceful, and free.”