US lawmakers voice support for Taiwan

The chamber of the House of Representatives is seen before convening for the first day of the 116th Congress with Democrats holding the majority, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Washington (CNA) — Several U.S. lawmakers have expressed support for Taiwan and called on Beijing to stop its military threats against Taipei, in the wake of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) warning on Jan. 4 that China reserves the right to use force against Taiwan.

In a tweet Friday, U.S. Senator John Kennedy said China’s military threats against Taiwan were “irresponsible, counterproductive and just bad diplomacy.” He tweeted part of a Reuters report, which said China reserves the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control.

“China’s provocative approach toward Taiwan risks the stability of the region and displays China’s disrespect of democracies in the world,” the Republican congressman from Louisiana said on Twitter.

In a similar vein, U.S. House Representative Ted Yoho said Jan. 4 on Twitter that the U.S. Congress’ support for Taiwan remained “unwavering.” “Xi Jinping’s threatening rhetoric on Taiwan is an escalation of Communist Party campaign to marginalize Taiwan’s democracy,” Yoho of Florida said. “Taiwan’s legitimacy is a self-evident fact.”

Also on Twitter, Don Bacon, a U.S. House Representative from Nebraska, said the people of Taiwan have embraced democracy and human rights, but China, a communist country, continues to deny freedom of religion, speech, and the press.

“America needs to stand by our longstanding commitment to Taiwan and ensure they’re not isolated,” Bacon tweeted Wednesday. In a Facebook post, Steve King, a House Representative from Iowa, said Taiwan is an independent nation that has been a democratic ally and an important trading partner of the United States and Iowa.

In September 2018, Taiwan signed an agreement to buy billions of U.S. dollars’ worth of soybeans from the United States, he noted.

“China saber-rattling and threats to Taiwan should be condemned by freedom loving people around the globe,” King wrote. Other U.S. House Representatives, including Glenn Grothman, Andy Biggs, Vicente Gonzalez, and Paul Gosar, have also voiced support for Taiwan in the wake of Xi’s speech, which was delivered Jan. 2 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of China’s “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan.”

Xi said in his speech that China is willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push forward the political process as long as the party accepts the one China principle. However, “we make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means” to serve the end, Xi said.

He said China will not target compatriots in Taiwan but the interference of external forces as well as the very small number of Taiwan independence activists.

By Jiang Ching-yeh and Frances Huang