WASHINGTON, D.C. – In case you missed it, Senator Rick Scott wrote an op-ed for National Review about his recent trip to Taiwan, the need for the United States to demonstrate support for this democratic partner with action, and the legislation he introduced to end the policy of strategic ambiguity toward Taiwan. The op-ed comes as Communist China levies economic sanctions on Taiwan and has ordered three days of live fire drills in six maritime areas surrounding the island.
Read Senator Scott’s full op-ed in National Review HERE or below:
Last month, I traveled to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan to meet with high-level government officials, business leaders, and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. My trip to Asia underscored the peril and promise that this part of the world holds for us as Americans, and served as a reminder that in Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo, we are blessed with strong partners who share our commitment to freedom and democracy. Perhaps most important, my discussions revealed how important it is for our own national interest that we do everything possible now to support our partners and allies — diplomatically, militarily, and commercially.
Since February, the world has watched Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine with horror. Freedom-loving nations, such as the United States and our NATO allies, have met this moment with unprecedented support for Ukraine and brutal punishment of Vladimir Putin’s evil Russian regime. Russia’s war has not only reminded the world of the true intentions of thugs such as Putin, but has also served as a preview of communist China’s likely invasion of Taiwan. Furthermore, it has shown that “integrated deterrence” only works when taken up early, comprehensively, and with a steely eye toward meaningful leverage.
My years in business taught me that measurement and results are what move us ahead, not mere visions and rhetoric. Although it occupies an island just one quarter the size of my home state of Florida and is separated from the growing threats of communist China by no more distance than is between Miami and Havana, Taiwan has grown to be America’s eighth-largest global trade partner. Its strategic trade importance is just another reason why we cannot leave any doubt that the United States fully supports Taiwan. We must demonstrate this support with action.
One way to do this is through strong economic agreements such as the new U.S.–Taiwan Initiative for 21st Century Trade. Our trade negotiators in the United States Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) must aim high with this new initiative to strengthen Taiwan’s economy, maximize technology collaborations with the United States, and further cement Taiwan’s place in a free and stable Pacific. But trade agreements alone are not enough. That’s why we must pass my Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which pairs military strategy with clear trade policy, a pairing meant to strengthen Taiwan and improve its standing on the world stage.
For decades, the United States has fully supported the military operations of Israel, with the understanding that Israel will fight for itself so long as it has the resources and support to effectively do so. Similarly, the chief responsibility to equip, train, and deter must continue to rest with Taiwan. Thankfully, like the Israelis, the Taiwanese are stepping up. In addition to ending the United States’ current policy of Strategic Ambiguity with Taiwan and making clear that the U.S. will militarily intervene in the event of a Chinese invasion of the island, my Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act urges USTR to initiate a bilateral free-trade agreement with Taiwan. Again, trade agreements without strong military strategy will never be enough to deter communist China, and the Biden administration’s reluctance to embrace this needed two-prong strategy threatens the national security of the United States as well as the future of democracy in Taiwan.
In addition to its failure to embrace my pro-Taiwan legislation, the administration missed an opportunity when it neglected to include Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) — a free and open economic alternative to communist China’s extractive and domineering model. While the administration will claim that the U.S.–Taiwan Initiative for 21st Century Trade is a worthy alternative, I fear that, like many of President Biden’s foreign-policy initiatives, it will be nothing more than lip service. A weak attempt to say something has been done when there is actually no intention for real change. I urge the administration to prove these fears wrong and take strong action to unapologetically support Taiwan.
Standing with Taiwan and employing a truly effective strategy of “integrated deterrence” means delivering strength in both arms and trade. It is essential to the national security of the United States, and the preservation of freedom and democracy in Asia, that we seize the opportunity before us to deter and combat communist China’s aggression. I urge President Biden to support the immediate passage of my Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act and make it clear that America will no longer appease China’s communist regime.
Read Senator Scott’s full op-ed in National Review HERE.