EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Tiffany Introduces Resolution Calling for US to Recognize Taiwan Independence

EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Tiffany Introduces Resolution Calling for US to Recognize Taiwan Independence
FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator holds flags of Taiwan and the United States in Burlingame, California, U.S. on Jan.14, 2017. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)
Andrew Thornebrooke
Steve Lance

A group of congressional lawmakers has introduced a resolution that urges the Biden administration to end the United States’ “One China Policy” as outdated and counter-productive and formally recognize Taiwan’s status as an independent nation.

Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) led 18 other Congress members on Jan. 25 in introducing the measure, which seeks to resume formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The resolution also directs the Biden administration to support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations and to negotiate a bilateral U.S.–Taiwan free trade agreement.

“It’s time to change the status quo and recognize the reality denied by the United States government for decades: Taiwan is an independent Nation,” Tiffany said in a statement shared with The Epoch Times.

“As our long-standing and valued partner, correctly acknowledging their independence from communist China is long overdue.”

Better Relations With Taiwan

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a single-party state, claims that Taiwan is part of China and must be united with the mainland by any means necessary. The regime has refused to rule out military conquest to achieve that goal and on several occasions has threatened war over the issue.

Despite such threats, the CCP has never controlled Taiwan, which boasts its own democratically elected government and market economy.

Since 1979, the United States has maintained the “One China” policy, in which it recognizes the Chinese regime as the sole entity governing China. Meanwhile, Washington maintains the Taiwan Relations Act, which guarantees that it will provide Taiwan with the arms necessary for its self-defense.

Washington’s agreements with the CCP, however, have prevented it from formally recognizing Taipei in diplomatic and trade bodies, even though Taiwan is the United States’ 10th-largest trading partner.

It’s a situation that Tiffany hopes to rectify.

“Taiwan has been put on the same footing ... as North Korea and other recalcitrant countries like that,” Tiffany said during a Jan. 25 interview with “Capitol Report” on NTD, a sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.

“They’ve expanded their democracy and are truly a peace-loving, free country here on planet Earth. And I think they should be recognized as such.”

The idea isn’t new to Tiffany, who brought forward similar resolutions in 2020 and 2021. What is new, he said, is the support that the resolution is receiving.

“A couple of years ago, it was me alone,” Tiffany said. “This year, we’re going to have 18 original co-sponsors.”

“There are more and more people in Congress that are understanding how important Taiwan is, and how important it is that we recognize Taiwan, and that we trade with Taiwan.”

The co-sponsors include Republican Reps. Buddy Carter of Georgia, Dan Crenshaw of Texas, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Byron Donalds of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia, Lance Gooden of Texas, Doug LaMalfa of California, Jake LaTurner of Kansas, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Tom McClintock of California, Nicole Malliotakis of New York, Lisa McClain of Michigan, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Andy Ogles of Tennessee, Burgess Owens of Utah, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Michelle Steel of California, and Randy Weber of Texas.

One co-sponsor, Steel, has also been named to the new House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, which may help deliver bipartisan support to the resolution.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn exchanges gifts with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (R) during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, on Aug. 26, 2022. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)
Sen. Marsha Blackburn exchanges gifts with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (R) during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, on Aug. 26, 2022. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

US–Taiwan–China Dynamic Is Changing

In all, Tiffany’s resolution aims to rectify what it considers an out-of-date set of foreign policies that no longer reflect either Taiwan or China’s place in the world, or their relationships with the United States.

“The President should abandon the antiquated ‘One China Policy’ in favor of a policy that recognizes the objective reality that Taiwan is an independent country not governed by or included within the territory of the People’s Republic of China,” the resolution states, using the official name of communist China.

Indeed, the context of trilateral relations between China, Taiwan, and the United States has shifted dramatically in the nearly half-century since it was formulated. Apart from Taiwan’s embrace of democracy and its thriving market economy, most Taiwanese now consider themselves something distinct from China and its people.

A 2020 Pew poll found that 66 percent of Taiwanese consider themselves to be a distinct people from the Chinese, with 28 percent considering themselves to be both Taiwanese and Chinese, and only 4 percent viewing themselves as just Chinese.

That trend is sharply higher among the younger generation, with 83 percent of Taiwanese people under the age of 30 saying that they didn’t consider themselves to be Chinese.

Likewise, a November 2021 poll by Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which handles cross-strait relations, found that only 1.6 percent of Taiwanese supported unification with China.

Tiffany says the times have changed and it’s past time that the United States adapts its foreign policy to reflect the current realities.

“The world has undergone dramatic changes since the days of Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, and it’s time that U.S. policy reflected that fact,” Tiffany said in a statement.

“Taiwan is a free, democratic, and independent country—one that has never been under the control of the People’s Republic of China or part of its territory. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply a lie.”

Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.