Somalilandsun: An ingenious piece of legislation, known as US Taipei Act 2019, recently passed by the United States congress clearly shows its commitment and dedication for supporting Taiwan and her allies in different ways. The Chinese government, which claims Taiwan as a territory of its own, has vehemently opposed it for not only it undermines its well-financed and orchestrated campaign of isolating Taiwan diplomatically, but also it stands in the way of her one China principle.
The Act mandates that US Department of State report to Congress on steps taken by the U S government to strengthen Taiwan’s diplomatic relations with other countries around the world and change United States’ engagement with nations that undermine the security and/or economy of Taiwan
Last week, a Chinese-led diplomatic offensive took place in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Hargeisa, the seat of the Somaliland government, after Taiwan and Somaliland reached an agreement to establish closer ties on July 1, 2020, which has caused an alarming discontent in Beijing and Mogadishu, that spontaneously voiced their strong opposition to it.
In this week, it is also interesting to note that U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, the highest-ranking official to visit that country in nearly four decades, and first Somaliland representative, Mohamed Omer Hagi Mohamoud, to Taiwan, who are both welcomed by Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, arrived in Taiwan on a time that is not so long apart..
In the first phase of the Chinese-led diplomatic maneuver, the Chinese ambassador to Somalia, Mr. Qin Jian, rushed to Hargeisa with a stick, thinking the Somaliland government can be easily bullied by demanding abandonment of ties with Taiwan after initially meeting with officials from the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. As the first encounter failed to reach an agreement, and the president not only declined to meet with him but also instructed exploring full recognition of Taiwan as sovereign state, the ambassador asked an immediate backup delegation from Beijing, the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Africa Directorate – a reinforcement that arrived within two days.
Somaliland President, Muse Bihi Abdi, receiving US Ambassador to Somalia, Donald Y. Yamamoto, in Hargeisa, Somaliland
Unfortunately, the Chinese bullying attitude, failing to win any hearts in Hargeisa, suffered a major setback as the Somaliland government has chosen to stay on the course of preserving the democratic value over giving in to the goodies of Chinese temptations.
Since Somaliland has taken a firm position against the Chinese pressure by not entertaining to compromise the principles and ideals of democracy, will the US government act upon the clauses applicable such partnership with Taiwan that Somaliland dared to forge and honor its commitment on “The Taipei Act 2019” by engaging with her? – a reasonable and rightful question that ought to be raised with the respective leaderships in Washington DC, in Taipei, and in Hargeisa in the midst of current dynamics taking shape in the Horn of Africa. However, the cutting edge of the sword rests with the United States as it prides itself in the rule of law without either favoring a friend or pressuring a foe.
As this relationship in discussion made the news headlines in many parts in the globe, the US State Department has so far not given much attention, except the White House’s National Security Council that have been very impressive with it.
The State Department is well aware of the contentious issues between Somaliland and Somalia for the last 29 years and the realities that exist on the ground in both countries, as it is one of the international partners preoccupied with the delusion that a government dictated alone by the foreign actors will take shape in Somalia – a model contrary to the successful bottom up approach championed by the Somaliland State.
While the United States has been ignoring the Somaliland case for some time now, such bold move by the Somaliland Administration to have successfully forged alliance with Taiwan, despite all the impediments China threw at it, constitutes one of the undertakings that the Taipei Act was designed to encourage and reward, and Somaliland is seeking the delivery of such benefits without further delay from the US government.
The Taiwanese government and its people have welcomed the US government’s passage of the Act, seeing it as a major security as well as a boost for the current and future relationships to be consummated, as it is backed by the United States. The time has come to prove whether that is the case, and even Taiwan and its citizens are particularly watching the steps to be taken by the US as to Somaliland since it has become the first country in a long time to have diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, while many other countries have opted to severe that relationship
The Republic of Somaliland is a country in the Horn of Africa, which gained independence from the British on June 26, 1960, and five days later united with the Somali Trusteeship administered by Italy for ten years on July 1, 1960. Somaliland unilaterally rescinded that union on May 18, 1991 after Somalia had descended into a defunct state, and today, she is better governed than many other countries in Africa and in the rest of the world, both administratively and fiscally.
The author: Ahmed J Yassin is a Clinical Laboratory Professional & Advocate of Somaliland case, Currently working at UF Health Jacksonville
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
(Full text of Taipei Act 2019)
PUBLIC LAW 116–135—MAR. 26, 2020
Public Law 116–135
TAIWAN ALLIES INTERNATIONAL
PROTECTION AND ENHANCEMENT
INITIATIVE (TAIPEI) ACT OF 2019
To express United States support for Taiwan’s diplomatic alliances around the
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Taiwan Allies International
Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019’’.
SEC. 2. DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH TAIWAN.
(a) FINDINGS.— Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (Public Law 96– 8) states that it is the policy of the United States ‘‘to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan’’.
(2) The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 states that it is the policy of the United States ‘‘to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan’’.
(3) Taiwan is a free, democratic, and prosperous nation of 23,000,000 people and an important contributor to peace and stability around the world.
(4) Since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen as President of Taiwan in 2016, the Government of the People’s Republic of China has intensified its efforts to pressure Taiwan.
(5) Since 2016, the Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, the Solomon Islands, and Kiribati have severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of diplomatic relations with China.
(6) Taiwan currently maintains full diplomatic relations with 15 nations around the world.
(7) Taiwan’s unique relationship with the United States, Australia, India, Japan, and other countries are of significant benefit in strengthening Taiwan’s economy and preserving its international space.
(8) According to President Tsai Ing-wen, the severance of diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of diplomatic relations with China is ‘‘part of a series of diplomatic and military acts of coercion’’ by China.
(9) The Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 (Public Law 115–409) states that—
(A) it is United States policy ‘‘to support the close economic, political, and security relationship between Taiwan and the United States’’; and
(B) the President should— (i) ‘‘conduct regular transfers of defense articles to Taiwan that are tailored to meet the existing and likely future threats from the People’s Republic of China, including supporting the efforts of Taiwan to develop and integrate asymmetric capabilities, as appropriate, including mobile, survivable, and cost effective capabilities, into its military forces’’; and (ii) ‘‘encourage the travel of high-level United States officials to Taiwan, in accordance with the Taiwan Travel Act’’.
SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON TRADE AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS
It is the sense of Congress that—
(1) the United States and Taiwan have built a strong economic partnership, with the United States now Taiwan’s second largest trading partner and with Taiwan the 11th largest trading partner of the United States and a key destination for United States agricultural exports;
(2) strong United States-Taiwan economic relations have been a positive factor in stimulating economic growth and job creation for the people of both the United States and Taiwan; and (3) the United States Trade Representative should consult with Congress on opportunities for further strengthening bilateral trade and economic relations between the United States and Taiwan.
SEC. 4. POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES WITH REGARD TO TAIWAN’S
PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS.
It should be the policy of the United States—
(1) to advocate, as appropriate—
(A) for Taiwan’s membership in all international organizations in which statehood is not a requirement and in which the United States is also a participant; and
(B) for Taiwan to be granted observer status in other appropriate international organizations;
(2) to instruct, as appropriate, representatives of the United States Government in all organizations described in paragraph (1) to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to advocate for Taiwan’s membership or observer status in such organizations; and
(3) for the President or the President’s designees to advocate, as appropriate, for Taiwan’s membership or observer status in all organizations described in paragraph (1) as part of any relevant bilateral engagements between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, including leader summits and the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.
SEC. 5. STRENGTHENING OF TIES WITH TAIWAN.
(a) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that the United States Government should—
(1) support Taiwan in strengthening its official diplomatic relationships as well as other partnerships with countries in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world;
(2) consider, in certain cases as appropriate and in alignment with United States interests, increasing its economic, security, and diplomatic engagement with nations that have demonstrably strengthened, enhanced, or upgraded relations with Taiwan; and
(3) consider, in certain cases as appropriate, in alignment with United States foreign policy interests and in consultation with Congress, altering its economic, security, and diplomatic engagement with nations that take serious or significant actions to undermine the security or prosperity of Taiwan.
(b) REPORT.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter for five years, the Secretary of State shall report to the appropriate congressional committees on the steps taken in accordance with subsection (a).
(c) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES DEFINED.—In
this section, the term ‘‘appropriate congressional committees’’ means—
(1) the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Appropriations, and the Committee on Finance of the Senate; and
(2) the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Appropriations, and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives.