Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to go to Taiwan wasn’t crazy or foolish. There’s a reason that 26 Republican senators reached across the aisle to show support for someone long-considered their political adversary.
Pelosi’s visit highlights that it’s more than just principles on the line--it’s the entire global order. Pelosi stated there were three main pillars to this US-Taiwan alliance: security, economy and governance, and her itinerary in Taiwan reflects this foundation.
The delegation’s first stop in Taiwan was the Legislative Yuan, one of the oldest symbols of democracy in the book and the foundation for rule of law. Dialogue between Taiwan and the U.S. at every level of governance is imperative to this fight for democracy. Indeed, the insistence of many U.S. officials, including governors, former executive appointees, and state legislators, to show support for Taiwan prior to this visit are a testament to how crucial Taiwan is for all Americans’ interests.
Pelosi also made it a point to meet influential executives from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., producer of much of the world’s semiconductor chip supply and irreplaceable supplier for some of the US’s most successful businesses. Take that away, and the world would experience another crisis like the current global food supply crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. To prevent this, it’s important that everyone works closely to keep China from controlling the market. It’s one reason why TSMC has started building a factory in Arizona, but true stability cannot be ensured until Taiwan’s self-defense is ensured.
As Taiwan’s sovereignty is put more at risk, we must not bow to China’s wishes to remain silent on the issues that matter most. The welcome Pelosi’s delegation received from Chair of the National Human Rights Commission Chen Chu at Taiwan’s National Human Rights Museum is a stark contrast to the environment within China. The act should be seen as the resolve of the US to uphold human rights and democracy, and it’s a celebrated move in Taiwan. The state honor President Tsai awarded Pelosi is not only an acknowledgement of the fulfillment of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act but also a symbol of the widespread support Americans have in Taiwan.
If we backed down in the face of groundless threats, what would that say about our commitment to these values as well as our friends in times of conflict? We not only want to ensure democracy and freedom, but we also need to build a legacy of trust with our allies and establish stability in the international system. We’ll need trust—and some grit—to triumph over autocracy.
Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta