Last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., took up U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho’s, R-Fla., “Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act” in the upper chamber of Capitol Hill.
Yoho, the top Republican on the U.S. Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee, introduced the bill back in July. According to Yoho’s office, the bill “would clarify and strengthen the commitment of the United States to defend Taiwan in the event of an armed attack.” The North Florida congressman is sticking to a campaign pledge and will not run for a fifth term in November.
“This legislation takes a number of important steps in response to a number of aggressive actions taken by the People’s Liberation Army towards Taiwan, and in the wake of escalating tensions caused by China in Hong Kong, the South China Sea, and the Sino-Indian border. Given these provocations, it has become clear that the Chinese Communist Party is rapidly moving to realize its territorial ambitions without regard for international condemnation or backlash,” Yoho’s office noted.
“The U.S. policy of strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan, initially implemented to avoid provoking Beijing to attack Taiwan and encourage peaceful relations, has clearly failed,” said Yoho back in July. “The PLA’s dramatic military buildup and increased provocations in the Taiwan Strait, along with blatant threats from the CCP, make their intentions toward Taiwan abundantly clear. The United States must act immediately to establish a clear red line over Taiwan that must not be crossed by China. As a vibrant democracy with nearly 24 million people, the U.S. is obligated to stand strong in support of Taiwan and encourage a return to peaceful relations between Taiwan and China.”
The bill also deals with economic matters including supporting the U.S. Trade Representative to begin work on a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan. Yoho’s bill also calls on the president or the secretary of state to meet with the president of Taiwan on that island. The bill also welcomes the Taiwan president to address Congress.
Yoho has reeled in more than 15 cosponsors including U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla. The bill was sent to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and the Ways and Means Committees.
Scott weighed in on the bill on Thursday.
“For months, I’ve called on Communist China to stop abusing human rights, live up to its commitment to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy, and end its efforts to crack down on Taiwan. Communist China continues to threaten our important ally – a threat not only to the people of Taiwan, but to the United States and our allies around the globe. We must do everything we can to discourage Communist China from using military force against a peaceful democratic power, and the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act demonstrates our commitment to Taiwan and to the importance of freedom and democracy,” Scott said.
The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As of Friday, there were no Senate cosponsors.
Yoho offered Scott a tip of the cap on Thursday.
“I am very thankful to be working with Senator Rick Scott as he leads companion legislation in the Senate to my bill, the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which ends the U.S. policy of strategic ambiguity by establishing a limited authorization for the President to use military force to defend Taiwan in the event of an armed attack,” Yoho said.
“The time for strategic ambiguity has come to an end,” Yoho added. “Although it may have helped prevent conflict with China over Taiwan in the past several decades, it has failed to deter the China of today from building up an immense military presence along the Taiwan Strait and repeatedly threatening military confrontation. The CCP’s intentions regarding Taiwan are abundantly clear. The United States must embrace a policy of strategic clarity and act immediately to establish a clear red line over Taiwan. As a vibrant democracy and our 11th largest trading partner with nearly 24 million people, the U.S. is obligated to stand strong in support of Taiwan and encourage a return to peaceful relations between Taiwan and China.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.