Peace and security in Taiwan Strait matter and are a shared interest - comment

Escalating tensions in the region and interrupting international transportation and trade do not serve the interests of any state.

 The Ground Force under the Eastern Theatre Command of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducts a long-range live-fire drill into the Taiwan Strait, from an undisclosed location in this handout released on August 4, 2022. (photo credit: Eastern Theatre Command/Handout via REUTERS)
The Ground Force under the Eastern Theatre Command of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducts a long-range live-fire drill into the Taiwan Strait, from an undisclosed location in this handout released on August 4, 2022.
(photo credit: Eastern Theatre Command/Handout via REUTERS)

The Group of Seven (G7) leading industrial nations and the European Union have called on Beijing to refrain from “aggressive military activity” in the Taiwan Strait, issuing a joint statement on August 3 expressing concern about “threatening actions by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), particularly live-fire exercises and economic coercion, which risks unnecessary escalation.” The government and people of Taiwan are grateful for this reaffirming commitment to peace and stability over the Strait.

It takes two to make peace. Taiwan has never provoked conflict. President Tsai Ing-wen has expressed her political will to ensure the safety of Taiwan, extending a friendly gesture to hold constructive dialogue with the Chinese government in order to maintain the status quo and contribute to regional peace. Her consistency in preserving regional peace, stability and prosperity has been praised by the international society.

“Consistency” also underpins the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. This is in line with the long-standing commitment to democracy from the American government along with congress members on both sides of the aisle. 

The visit is within the framework of the existing Taiwan-US relationship. Mr. Newt Gingrich already visited Taiwan as Speaker in 1997, meeting with late president Lee Teng-hui – so this is an established precedent. In that respect, Speaker Pelosi’s visit is not an action to undermine the status quo, and should not be used as a pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. 

Escalating tensions in the region and interrupting international transportation and trade do not serve the interests of any state. Taiwan will neither escalate conflict nor instigate disputes. But we will resolutely defend our nation’s sovereignty and our security, and stand as a bulwark of democracy and freedom. 

 US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and South Korea?s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo (not pictured) attend a joint news announcement in Seoul, South Korea August 4, 2022. (credit: Kim Min-Hee/Pool via REUTERS) US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and South Korea?s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo (not pictured) attend a joint news announcement in Seoul, South Korea August 4, 2022. (credit: Kim Min-Hee/Pool via REUTERS)

As a responsible member of the international community, we are calm and will not act in haste. We are rational and will not act to provoke, but we will absolutely not bow to pressure – like Israeli people are determined to defend your homeland.

Defending democracy
Taiwan stands on the front line to defend democracy. Our island nation also plays a key role in global supply chains as it dominates 63% of global semiconductor output and 92% of output of advanced chips. Among the world’s top 10 Information and Communication Technology Equipment (ICT) equipment original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), seven are headquartered in Taiwan, accounting for 80% of the global electronics OEM market. 

Taiwan’s security and resilience are impactful to the global economy, in which the geographic distance blurs and every country is intertwined. 

We know we shoulder a huge responsibility to maintain prosperity and global economic growth, which is why Taiwan’s government has been closely monitoring the situation to ensure that flight and shipping routes remain safe and open, that our airports and seaports continue to function normally, and that our economy and financial institutions remain stable while facing military exercises in areas around Taiwan today.

Peace in the Taiwan Strait is the shared responsibility of everyone. We are doing our utmost to uphold the cross-strait status quo and the stability of the global supply chain. We thank the G7 countries, the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and our many good friends around the world for supporting peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region. 

We call on all fellow democracies to stand in unity, and we believe that no matter the odds, no matter the obstacles, democracies always stand as one and the democratic way of life will prevail.

The author is a representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv.