Lai’s Inauguration: A Great Day for Taiwan and the US

CommentaryThe inauguration of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te on May 20 was a bright victory for Taiwan’s people and the United States at an otherwise dark time as the Chinese regime increases its coercive pressure against Taiwan.Mr. Lai, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, won the Taiwanese presidential election on Jan. 13. This was one of the most important elections of this year—the others being in India, where it appears Prime Minister Narendra Modi will remain in office when the elections conclude in June and, of course, the U.S. election in November.Mr. Lai’s inaugural address was an elegant, reflective, but equally forceful statement of the importance of unity among the Taiwanese people, Taiwan’s role in global politics as a force for peace and prosperity, and the need for Beijing to accept its existence as a democracy.He also called for vigilance in the cross-strait relationship, given the increasing belligerence from the Chinese regime and preparations for invasions. Mr. Lai stated directly that Beijing must cease its political and military intimidation against Taiwan and share with Taiwan the global responsibility of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as well as the greater Indo-Pacific region. It was a pitch-perfect address. He demonstrated great optimism for Taiwan’s people, society, and future, and the resoluteness needed as Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping conveyed his intent to conquer Taiwan.The address was also significant because one of the audiences was clearly the American people. It is important for Americans to recognize that Taiwan is a strategic partner that plays a key role in the economic, geostrategic, and political fight against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).Related StoriesThere are four major reasons Taiwan matters to Americans.The first is economic. Taiwan is a vibrant and wealthy economy—and a superpower in computer chip production. Any damage to its factories, including their destruction, or conquest by the Chinese regime, will reverberate for many years throughout the U.S. and global economies. There may come a day when the United States will no longer depend upon Taiwanese chips, but that day is not today and will not be for many years.However, as Mr. Lai identified, Taiwan is more important to the global economy beyond semiconductors. He stated that Taiwan will develop the “Five Trusted Industry Sectors,” which are semiconductors, artificial intelligence (AI), military might, security and surveillance, and next-generation communications. Mr. Lai also stated that his goal is to improve the investment environment and welcome Taiwanese businesses abroad to come back and invest in Taiwan. All of this would be easier if Taiwan had a secure deterrent against the CCP’s aggression.Second, Taiwan occupies key geopolitical real estate, as Beijing and Washington recognize. For the CCP, it is a cork in the bottle of the first island chain, and so it prevents the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) from easily accessing the Pacific and further expanding its power, from defending China’s ports from mining, and from sustaining the Sea Line of Communication from the East and South China Seas. Thus, sustaining Taiwan is a key national security interest of the United States.Third, in the realm of political warfare, Taiwan is a strong democracy. It demonstrates what China might have been had the CCP not come to power in 1949. Taiwan’s existence is a daily reminder of this and of the government that the great Chinese people might have had, which demonstrates why the CCP is illegitimate. The existence of Taiwan shows what might have been and what still might be if the CCP falls from power.Fourth, Taiwan is a symbol of U.S. credibility to resist the Chinese regime’s aggression and thus to defend its interests and allies against its existential enemy. Standing with Taiwan provides a tangible indication that the United States will resist the CCP’s expansion and will do so with substantial U.S. and allied support. The April 2024 joint drills between the U.S. and the Taiwanese navies in the waters to Taiwan’s east is an important and welcome development. Also in April, the U.S. Congress passed the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024, which will provide Taiwan and other states in the Indo-Pacific region with additional security and assistance.A future in which Taiwan is conquered would profoundly disrupt the U.S. and allied economies and tip them into depression. An attack against Taiwan would not end with Taiwan. Xi would be emboldened to undertake further aggression. Indeed, it is probable that an invasion of Taiwan would entail simultaneous attacks against U.S. allies like Japan, Guam, and the continental United States itself.Mr. Lai’s inaugural address explained why the free world must support Taiwan. It was inspiring for the people of Taiwan and people of goodwill around the world. It also stands in contrast to the leaden and mena

Lai’s Inauguration: A Great Day for Taiwan and the US

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Commentary

The inauguration of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te on May 20 was a bright victory for Taiwan’s people and the United States at an otherwise dark time as the Chinese regime increases its coercive pressure against Taiwan.

Mr. Lai, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, won the Taiwanese presidential election on Jan. 13. This was one of the most important elections of this year—the others being in India, where it appears Prime Minister Narendra Modi will remain in office when the elections conclude in June and, of course, the U.S. election in November.

Mr. Lai’s inaugural address was an elegant, reflective, but equally forceful statement of the importance of unity among the Taiwanese people, Taiwan’s role in global politics as a force for peace and prosperity, and the need for Beijing to accept its existence as a democracy.

He also called for vigilance in the cross-strait relationship, given the increasing belligerence from the Chinese regime and preparations for invasions. Mr. Lai stated directly that Beijing must cease its political and military intimidation against Taiwan and share with Taiwan the global responsibility of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as well as the greater Indo-Pacific region. It was a pitch-perfect address. He demonstrated great optimism for Taiwan’s people, society, and future, and the resoluteness needed as Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping conveyed his intent to conquer Taiwan.

The address was also significant because one of the audiences was clearly the American people. It is important for Americans to recognize that Taiwan is a strategic partner that plays a key role in the economic, geostrategic, and political fight against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

There are four major reasons Taiwan matters to Americans.

The first is economic. Taiwan is a vibrant and wealthy economy—and a superpower in computer chip production. Any damage to its factories, including their destruction, or conquest by the Chinese regime, will reverberate for many years throughout the U.S. and global economies. There may come a day when the United States will no longer depend upon Taiwanese chips, but that day is not today and will not be for many years.

However, as Mr. Lai identified, Taiwan is more important to the global economy beyond semiconductors. He stated that Taiwan will develop the “Five Trusted Industry Sectors,” which are semiconductors, artificial intelligence (AI), military might, security and surveillance, and next-generation communications. Mr. Lai also stated that his goal is to improve the investment environment and welcome Taiwanese businesses abroad to come back and invest in Taiwan. All of this would be easier if Taiwan had a secure deterrent against the CCP’s aggression.

Second, Taiwan occupies key geopolitical real estate, as Beijing and Washington recognize. For the CCP, it is a cork in the bottle of the first island chain, and so it prevents the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) from easily accessing the Pacific and further expanding its power, from defending China’s ports from mining, and from sustaining the Sea Line of Communication from the East and South China Seas. Thus, sustaining Taiwan is a key national security interest of the United States.

Third, in the realm of political warfare, Taiwan is a strong democracy. It demonstrates what China might have been had the CCP not come to power in 1949. Taiwan’s existence is a daily reminder of this and of the government that the great Chinese people might have had, which demonstrates why the CCP is illegitimate. The existence of Taiwan shows what might have been and what still might be if the CCP falls from power.

Fourth, Taiwan is a symbol of U.S. credibility to resist the Chinese regime’s aggression and thus to defend its interests and allies against its existential enemy. Standing with Taiwan provides a tangible indication that the United States will resist the CCP’s expansion and will do so with substantial U.S. and allied support. The April 2024 joint drills between the U.S. and the Taiwanese navies in the waters to Taiwan’s east is an important and welcome development. Also in April, the U.S. Congress passed the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024, which will provide Taiwan and other states in the Indo-Pacific region with additional security and assistance.

A future in which Taiwan is conquered would profoundly disrupt the U.S. and allied economies and tip them into depression. An attack against Taiwan would not end with Taiwan. Xi would be emboldened to undertake further aggression. Indeed, it is probable that an invasion of Taiwan would entail simultaneous attacks against U.S. allies like Japan, Guam, and the continental United States itself.

Mr. Lai’s inaugural address explained why the free world must support Taiwan. It was inspiring for the people of Taiwan and people of goodwill around the world. It also stands in contrast to the leaden and menacing speeches Xi makes. A free and independent Taiwan is a major factor in supporting the necessary stance against the threat of a hyperaggressive communist China. The world is fortunate that Mr. Lai is now in office. It is time for states to take the next steps in support of Mr. Lai and Taiwan’s security in order to do the utmost to deter the CCP’s aggression.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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