Sen. Graham ‘Open’ to US Troops Defending Taiwan

Sen. Graham ‘Open’ to US Troops Defending Taiwan

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a televised interview Sunday that he was “open” to having U.S. troops on the ground defending Taiwan from a potential attack by China.

“So, the question for the Congress: Should we have a defense agreement with the island of Taiwan? We don’t — should we have one?” The Hill reported Graham saying during a televised interview on Sunday. “But yes, I’d be very much open to using U.S. forces to defend Taiwan, because it’s in our national security interest to do so.”

After House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., hosted Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at a meeting in California on Wednesday, China has vowed “resolute and forceful measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,’ the The Associated Press reported.

“We will take resolute measures to punish the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and their actions, and resolutely safeguard our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement Thursday, referring to Tsai and her political party as separatists, according to the AP report.

It’s not the first time China has threatened action due to a visit between Taiwanese and U.S. officials.

Former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited the democratic island in August 2022 during a swing through the Pacific, which generated a stern response from Beijing.

“It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence,’” CNN reported that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement at that time. “China firmly opposes and sternly condemns this and has made serious démarche and strong protest to the United States.”

The State Department clarified the policy with China relating to Taiwan, known as the “one China” policy, in May 2022 before Pelosi’s visit.

“The United States has a longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side; we do not support Taiwan independence; and we expect cross-Strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means,” the statement from the agency said. “We continue to have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

“Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States makes available defense articles and services as necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability -– and maintains our capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of Taiwan.”

Graham said on Sunday, however, that the policy is still vague on what it would mean if China invaded Taiwan, what the extent of U.S. involvement would be.

“I believe in a one China policy, but I would be willing to fight for Taiwan because Taiwan is a democracy. We stood with them for decades,” Graham said. “So, I would up our game and if you don’t up your game now you are going to have a war.”

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