McConnell on Taiwan and Indo-Pacific Security Challenges
Public reports indicate that the Speaker of the House just landed in Taiwan as she travels through Asia… [I] welcome the Speaker’s display of support for Taiwan’s democracy. But I hope she returns from Asia more mindful of the military dimensions of the China threat and more committed to working with Republicans to address the changing balance of military power in the region.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Taiwan:
“Public reports indicate that the Speaker of the House just landed in Taiwan as she travels through Asia.
“She has every right to go. And it’s been unseemly and counterproductive for President Biden and his aides to have publicly sought to deter her from doing so.
“There is significant precedent for high-ranking U.S. officials visiting Taiwan, including a past Speaker of the House. Beijing claims such a visit is now unacceptable. They claim that things have changed.
“Well, it’s certainly true China has stepped up its aggressive actions.
“They are trying to change the status quo through force. They’ve expanded militarily in the South China Sea, they’ve invested in anti-ship and anti-aircraft capabilities to threaten U.S. vessels. They’ve manipulated and threatened neighbors and mounted an all-out assault on democracy and autonomy in Hong Kong.
“Now Beijing wants to dictate Taiwan’s future to its people and snuff out the island’s democracy. And they are building the military capacity to bring this about.
“That is what’s provocative. And to hear those responsible for this aggression complain that Speaker Pelosi’s travel itinerary is provocative is absurd.
“So I welcome the Speaker’s display of support for Taiwan’s democracy.
“But I hope she returns from Asia more mindful of the military dimensions of the China threat and more committed to working with Republicans to address the changing balance of military power in the region.
“That requires selling the right mix of weapons to Taiwan, on a prompt timeline, while helping Taiwan’s military prepare for likely threats.
“The Biden Administration has had two years to build on the robust investments their immediate predecessors made in military modernization.
“Instead, they submitted defense budget requests that pointed in the completely wrong direction. While China keeps ramping up, the Biden Administration proposed to actually cut our defense spending after inflation.
“So when the Congress debates the defense authorization and appropriations bills, we must address national security challenges in the Indo-Pacific head on.
“And I hope the Speaker’s travels will mean that we do so with more of a bipartisan consensus on American might than we have seen in the recent past.”