Periodic Reviews and Updated Reports of the Department of State's Taiwan Guidelines Under the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020

Floor Speech

Date: March 22, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CONNOLLY. Mr. Speaker, I thank my dear friend, the former chair and now the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, for his leadership and friendship. I also thank my dear friend from Missouri, Congresswoman Wagner, who has served America in many roles. I thank her for her leadership on today's legislation, a bipartisan piece of legislation that is very timely and important.

This legislation provides an update to the Taiwan Assurance Act, which I was proud to support in 2020 to underscore the importance of U.S. support for Taiwan.

The key piece of legislation Congress initiated back in 1979 is, as Chairman Meeks indicated, the Taiwan Relations Act. It was passed when I was a young staffer in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and it originated out of that committee.

It was designed by Congress to help create unique architecture in the bilateral relationship between the United States and Taiwan. It followed immediately after normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China, and it was designed by Congress to make sure that no military solution would be available in the question of the status of Taiwan.

The Taiwan Relations Act was designed to put forth parameters and a roadmap to govern our bilateral relationship. Central to that roadmap is Taiwan's ability to defend itself with support from the United States. That is a promise we made then, and it is a promise we must keep today.

As an increasingly aggressive China threatens its neighbors throughout the South China Sea, as if it were its own private pond, and as it encroaches on territorial waters and airspace and asserts ludicrous claims that the South China Sea is its Chinese pond, this is the time for the United States and this Congress to reassert our support, our unequivocal support, for the right of the Taiwanese people to decide for themselves how they will manage their affairs and their relationship with Beijing.

As president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly for the last 2 years, I was proud to partner with my colleagues in this body and on both sides of the aisle to put China on the NATO agenda for the first time in its 70-year history, believe it or not.

This is a crucial moment for the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. It requires a sober and comprehensive understanding of the challenge China can pose to the United States and its security and prosperity, as well as that of the people of Taiwan.

In this moment, our support for Taiwan, its people, and its democratic structure is paramount in the face of Chinese aggression. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

Again, I thank my colleague from Missouri and the distinguished former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee for their leadership.