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Lankford Commends Taiwan’s Commitment to Democracy

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) applauded the Senate’s unanimous passage of their resolution commending Taiwan for its commitment to democratic elections and institutions, despite ongoing threats from the Chinese Communist Party.

“Taiwan is committed to preserving freedom and democracy. Aggression from the Chinese Communist Party has not deterred the free people of Taiwan from upholding their values of free press, free speech, and free and fair elections. We commend Taiwan for their leadership and affirm that the United States will continue to defend our allies,” Lankford said. 

“This is a volatile and potentially dangerous time,”Sullivan said. “Between the election on January 13th and the inauguration in May, the United States needs to show steady, unwavering commitment and resolve in support of Taiwan’s democracy and—critically—we need to enhance cross-strait deterrence now. The important resolution my Senate colleagues and I passed unanimously today will help accomplish that. This will be Taiwan’s eighth presidential election. In my own career, I deployed as part of a Marine Corps task force on the eve of Taiwan’s first presidential election when Beijing was threatening to invade Taiwan and shooting missiles over the island. Today, Taiwan is considered one of the freest countries in the world. Every Taiwan election threatens the central premise of the Chinese Communist Party—that one dictator ruling in perpetuity knows what’s best for 1.4 billion people. Millions of Chinese on the mainland will be watching Taiwan’s upcoming election and asking the question, ‘Why can’t we do that?’ This is a giant vulnerability for Xi Jinping.”

“Taiwan’s respect for human rights, freedom of religion, free press, and a successful economy has borne proof to the notion that allowing all Taiwanese to participate in democracy has been wonderful for Taiwanese society,” said Kaine. “We need to stand strong and support Taiwanese democracy. I’m proud to lead this resolution with the support of so many of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

Last year, Lankford introduced the Deterring Escalation Through Economic Retaliation (DETER) Act to deter conflict in the Taiwan Strait by establishing a policy to revoke Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with the People’s Republic of China if Beijing invades Taiwan. The bill also requires the Commerce Department and other agencies to conduct an assessment of current US supply chain vulnerabilities that would be affected by PNTR suspension, along with proposals to mitigate those risks and reduce reliance on China in the meantime.