Open Washington Doors to Taiwan Official Visits

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Whenever high-level visitors from democratic Taiwan seek to come to Washington, the doors remain sadly closed, this needs to change. Despite a non-binding "sense of Congress" resolution in each session of Congress that urged lifting the then-and-still-current U.S. policy barring top Taiwan officials from visiting Washington, the doors have not opened at all. Yet the U.S. does welcome ''non-elected'' leaders from Beijing to routinely visit, rolling out the red carpet and receiving them to the White House with fanfare.

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On the Trump-Tsai Phone Call Controversy - My Taiwanese-American Perspective and Plea for Progressive Support

As a dual citizen of the United States and Taiwan, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the last few days contextualizing for my American friends the controversy behind Donald Trump’s recent call with President Tsai Ing-Wen of Taiwan.

I have found that many otherwise progressive allies and journalists have been unintentionally or ignorantly parroting pro-Beijing talking points in the course of criticizing Trump. These are people who would otherwise proudly proclaim, “Free Tibet,” “Free Palestine,” and “Black Lives Matter.” We need more progressive voices in support of Taiwan. If you care about democracy and human rights, then I urge you to become a friend of Taiwan as well.

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Return of the U.S. Coast Guard to Taiwan 

Recently Admiral James Lyons (USN-Retired) proposed the return of the U.S. Coast Guard to Taiwan [Strengthening Taiwan’s defenses, The Washington Times]. The 1979 Carter termination of the US-ROC Mutual Defense Treaty left the island out in the cold, but the U.S. Congress replaced it with the Taiwan Relations Act in 1980. In 1996, the Chinese imposed a partial blockade around and over Taiwan with their so-called "missile tests" and the U.S. Navy reacted by sending two U.S. aircraft carriers to patrol the international waters around Taiwan.  This partial blockade was an overt act of war by China (see reference here).  During the last few years, the South China Sea and Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands have been quietly inundated with Chinese maritime surveillance ships, but these particular Chinese ships are not part of the Chinese PLA Navy (PLAN). Their military role for combatant status is based on naval militias. These maritime militias have been dubbed the "little blue men" of PLAN asymmetric warfare strategies, because they are just tap dancing around an overt act of war (e.g. blockades).  American naval assets are seafaring vessels for its military purposes, but the Chinese maritime militia occupy the twilight zone of both civilian and military vessels. Americans, however, have a rough equivalency of the Chinese maritime militia, because the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has a dual mission purpose of maritime policing and coastal warfare.

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Remember 228: A Call for Action for American Citizens

Each year, February 28th marks the anniversary of the tragic 1947 “228” massacre which ignited a dark period in Taiwan’s history. This year, on the 69th anniversary, American Citizens for Taiwan invites our fellow Americans to join us in remembering what transpired on February 28, 1947, and stand-up for Taiwan, a nation of 23 million people whose fledgling democracy is threatened.

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Time for an Improved Taiwan-U.S. Security Relationship

With some revision of existing rules, the current framework is sufficient for a closer and more pronounced security relationship between Taiwan and the U.S.

Relations between Taiwan and the U.S. have been built upon mutual security interests. In the 1950s, the KMT regime’s self-preservation interest overlapped with Washington’s containment strategy in Asia. While Taiwan’s population suffered under martial law, the security relations between the two countries flourished under the 1955 mutual defense treaty. In 1979, strategic clarity underscored by a mutual defense treaty and official diplomatic relations was replaced by strategic ambiguity and unofficial relations, in which the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Washington, D.C. pretend they are not embassies of their respective countries and the U.S. remains ambiguous as to what its reaction to China’s aggression would look like.

The framework for bilateral relations is the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (TRA). It is not a treaty between two friendly nations, but a U.S. domestic law, arguably a far cry from formal defense treaty. Or is it?

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Taiwan's Election: Fresh Opportunities for Partnership in Asia

Just over a week ago, Taiwanese people went to the polls and delivered a resounding victory, and a strong public mandate, for the Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-wen, raises her hands as she declares victory in the presidential election Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Taipei, Taiwan. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)Democratic Progressive Party (“DPP”). Along with winning back the Presidency, the DPP also won a clear majority of seats in the Legislative Yuan, the country’s national parliament, for the first time. The results left the DPP in control of both the executive branch and the legislature, along with five of the nation’s six municipalities.

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Webcast Video: Panel on a New Era in US-Taiwan Relations

Watch American Citizens for Taiwan's webcast video of Ketagalan Media's Panel on a New Era in US-Taiwan Relations, recorded on Saturday, January 16, 2016 from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. EST.

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A Very Unilateral Affair

On Saturday the 7th of November 2015, the presidents of the Republic of China on Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China met for the first time ever at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, some twenty-three years after official and public direct communication between the respective countries’ governments first began.  Except officially, that’s not what happened at all. The world instead watched two neighboring Asia-Pacific ‘leaders’ slow waltz past each other with a handshake, twenty minutes of open door statements, and then post-meeting press conferences held by ‘the two sides’. To prevent misunderstandings shattering the finessed choreography of the spectacle, the title of ‘President’ was benched in favor of the less confrontational ‘Mister’. Xi entered the Hotel's front door with a personal high-level government escort, Ma arriving at the back, accompanied by somebody from some department in the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The leaders dutifully reaffirmed their adherence to the 1992 Consensus, and their shared desire to advance the peaceful development of the Great Chinese nation and its people (noun, singular).

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ACT Webcast Video: The Coming Taiwanese Election - Michael Turton

Watch American Citizens for Taiwan October 10, 2015 webcast on the coming January 2016 Taiwanese elections, and the possible impacts for U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Featured Speaker

Michael Turton

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History Curriculum Protests: Future Implications for US-Taiwan Relations

The history curriculum protests and their significance for U.S.-Taiwan relations

For Taiwanese students, this has been a summer vacation to remember. In an attempt to make the Ministry of Education abandon its Taiwanese history curriculum revision that went into effect this August 1, a group of high school students captured the nation’s attention for over a fortnight by first attempting to occupy the ministry building and then occupying its courtyard for a week. On his 20th birthday, student spokesman Dai Lin (林冠華), who had spent a night in prison and faced further legal action for storming the ministry, called on Facebook for the curriculum to be abolished and then committed suicide. Students engaged in a two and a half-hour, highly-viewed, highly emotionally charged debate with the minister of education. Nor were the events limited to Taipei, as concerned students across the nation mobilized to seek dialogue with education officials and, when denied, to protest against them.

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