European Parliament’s Bold Resolutions Call for U.S. to Recognize Taiwan

In an unprecedented move, the European Parliament has adopted two resolutions that affirm that neither Taiwan nor the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are subordinate to the other and that only Taiwan’s democratically elected government can represent the Taiwanese people in international politics.

This is a significant victory for Taiwan and a reminder of the importance and power that come from such an obvious geopolitical reality.  The facts on the ground are clear: Taiwan is an independent state and not part of the PRC, despite the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) protestations.  As such, Taiwan is no more subordinate to the PRC than India or Italy.  Equally, the recognition that Taiwan is a democracy and perforce represents the Taiwanese people is a reflection that Taiwan is legitimate.  This is because its government is democratic, implicitly drawing the rightful comparison to the PRC, which is not democratic and not legitimate.

These welcome developments must be echoed by the U.S. Congress and the Biden administration.  These resolutions also offer a new opportunity for America’s allies like Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand, and for partners like India to follow suit and remind Beijing that their bullying against the people of Taiwan has been rejected by the world.

Taiwan matters for U.S. national security because, first, it has a robust and vibrant economy, including producing computer chips for the world market.  The U.S. economy depends on Taiwanese chip production and will for years to come.  A disruption in Taiwanese chip production would cause grievous damage to the U.S. economy.

Second, it occupies critical geopolitical territory that serves to contain the Chinese navy, provide potential bases for strikes against military facilities, mine Chinese ports should war come, and serve as an outpost for the U.S. intelligence community.

Third, Taiwan’s existence is a political warfare victory over the PRC.  Taiwan shows that China might have been a democracy if the CCP had not defeated the Chinese Nationalists in 1949.  Taiwan is a flourishing democracy that demonstrates that China could be as well if freed from the tyranny of the CCP.

Fourth, Taiwan is a symbol for U.S. allies’ willingness to resist the CCP’s expansion.  It was, like West Berlin, such an icon during the Cold War and remains so today.

Fifth, Taiwan was an important ally during the Cold War—this shared history must be remembered now to understand how valuable Taiwan was to U.S. national security.  The alliance relationship between Taipei and Washington during the Cold War was driven by shared strategic goals in the fight against the Soviet Union and Communist China.  During that period, the U.S. extended deterrence commitments to Taiwan, as it did to all of its key allies, to deter communist aggression and global expansion.  Also, during the Cold War, Taiwan allowed the U.S. to store nuclear weapons that would be used against China in World War III, to collect intelligence against the Chinese mainland, was an important logistical hub, and was an unsinkable aircraft carrier to strike targets in China.

Fundamentally, it is imperative that the people and government of Taiwan be educated about the totality of the threat they face from the PRC.  As such, an education campaign regarding how the CCP has committed genocide against its own citizens in Xinjiang, suffocated the people of Hong Kong, and brutally occupied Tibet is essential for all the people of Taiwan to hear about from the White House.

Given the European Parliament’s courageous steps, the next logical action is the diplomatic recognition of Taiwan’s sovereignty.  In reality, it is past time for the United States to recognize Taiwan as a state and extend deterrence to it, as it did during most of the Cold War.  This act would remove any ambiguity that Beijing may have regarding a U.S. response should China attack.

Moreover, in the new Cold War with the PRC, once again, the U.S. should work with Taiwan to deter a PLA attack and to do so now.  To augment deterrence immediately, the U.S., allies like Australia and Japan, and partners like India should deploy air, sea, and land forces to the island to increase Taipei’s ability to defend itself and to serve as a nuclear tripwire.  As part of that force, the U.S. should coordinate with our allies and friends to deploy B-61 tactical nuclear weapons once again to the region, including Taiwan, to deter an attack or escalation to higher levels of conflict if deterrence fails.  These steps are needed not only as a recognition of the de facto reality of the 21st century but also because Taiwan is under great threat of an invasion by the PRC—potentially as early as the end of 2024.

These bold measures by the European Parliament are exactly what are needed to aid Taiwanese people, help secure a fellow democracy, and break the PRC’s political warfare strategy of claiming that Taiwan is a part of the PRC.  Now is the time to secure the reality of a Taiwan that is free and a full member of the family of nations.  It is time for Washington to end the policy of “strategic ambiguity” and to recognize Taipei once and for all and work with allies and partners to ensure Taiwan possesses a robust conventional deterrent and is once again brought under the protection of the U.S. extended deterrent.

James E. Fanell and Bradley A. Thayer are authors of Embracing Communist China:  America’s Greatest Strategic Failure.

Get the news corporate media won't tell you.

Get caught up on today's must read stores!

By submitting your information, you agree to receive exclusive AG+ content, including special promotions, and agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms. By providing your phone number and checking the box to opt in, you are consenting to receive recurring SMS/MMS messages, including automated texts, to that number from my short code. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to end. SMS opt-in will not be sold, rented, or shared.

About James E. Fanell and Bradley A. Thayer

James Fanell is a government fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy and a former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Bradley A. Thayer is a Founding Member of the Committee on Present Danger China and the coauthor with Lianchao Han of Understanding the China Threat.

Photo: Flag of Taiwan in Taipei on 10 10 day - Taiwan's National day. 10/10/2012.