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As China shows an aggressive posture towards Taiwan, the US must send a strong message 

FILE – Two soldiers fold the national flag during the daily flag ceremony in Liberty Square of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, July 30, 2022. A delegation of U.S. lawmakers met with Taiwan’s President Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, as part of an ongoing visit that comes at a tense moment between the U.S. and China, who have spent weeks trading accusations over a spy balloon. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)

Last week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched 25 warplanes and three warships towards Taiwan in a show of force and intimidation as tensions between the two nations continues to rise. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense accused 19 of those warplanes of crossing into their air defense zone, in an obvious threat against the island nation. 

I visited Taiwan in December 2022 and saw for myself the precariousness of the county’s position. Taiwan is uniquely alone as an island off the coast of China. The CCP has loomed over the people of this island for years, continuously attempting to bully their government into submission.  

Chinese Leader Xi Jinping has reportedly ordered his army “to be ready by 2027 to conduct a successful invasion” of Taiwan. That being said, according to CIA Director William Burns, the CCP is concerned about their ability to attack Taiwan after the West’s unified reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

This is good news and underscores the importance of standing with our allies to implement maximum pressure on Beijing to stop their aggression against Taiwan before they launch an invasion against the sovereign nation. Make no mistake, the CCP will not stop their aggression if they conquer Taiwan. They are dedicated to their campaign against democracy, freedom, and any perceived threat to communism.  

That is why I introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation with Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to support Taiwan as they work to protect themselves from a potential CCP invasion. Our bill, the Taiwan Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act will authorize the president of the United States to rapidly provide Taiwan with necessary defense items the moment the CCP shows aggression towards the island, whether it be a physical assault against their territory or infrastructure, or attacks of intimidation, like the CCP’s recent launch of warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense zone.  

No one wants a war with the CCP. This bill is designed to deter further aggression by the CCP by making America’s position crystal clear — do not dare attack Taiwan. If you do, we will stand by our ally and ensure peace in the region.  

The Lend-Lease program originated in 1941 to aid nations in their effort to end World War II. The U.S. State Department recently approved a $613 million sale of missiles to Taiwan, but the delivery of those items may never come to fruition.  

This bill will expedite the process of providing Taiwan the tools they need to defend themselves by cutting bureaucratic red tape in advance of any CCP aggression. In return, Taiwan will be responsible for paying the U.S. back for the items we provide, including any interest incurred.  

The Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said Tuesday that a “conflict and confrontation” with the U.S, is inevitable if we do not change course. He is right. If the United States does not show strength and unity in an immediate and unmistakable message to Beijing that we will not tolerate any further escalation of hostility toward Taiwan, the conflict will become inevitable. The CCP has already established themselves as the greatest threat to our nation. They have no regard for the sovereignty of any nation or human rights. If left unchecked, the CCP’s manipulation and destruction would know no bounds. Xi Jinping’s dictatorship is the antithesis of everything we value. We must protect democracy by any means and stand strong against anyone who threatens it. I look forward to working with my friends in the House and the Senate to see this legislation to the president’s desk. 

Michelle Steel represents California’s 45th District and is a member of the Taiwan Caucus. 

Tags CCP China-Taiwan tensions William Burns Xi Jinping

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