Professor of political science June Teufel Dreyer was invited to testify before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs at a hearing entitled “Why Taiwan Matters” on June 16.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who plans to introduce legislation to strengthen the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) of 1979, chaired the hearing. Dreyer was asked to testify on the current state of U.S.-Taiwan relations, including political developments within Taiwan, future plans for defensive arms sales to Taiwan, the continued missile buildup on the Chinese mainland opposite Taiwan, and the increased targeting of People’s Liberation Army assets directed toward Taiwan.
In her remarks, Dreyer described Taiwan as an island with narrowing options, tracing a trajectory toward absorption by China. “U.S. actions bear a large measure of responsibility for this drift,” she noted, and the United States must make efforts to reverse it: “To abandon a democratic country to an authoritarian government with an abysmal human rights record is a repudiation of all that the United States stands for.”
“Now is the time to halt a drift that is dangerous not only to the security of the Taiwanese but to the United States’ interests in the region and to the credibility of the global alliance system,” Dreyer said.
She offered four recommendations toward reversing this drift: the immediate sale of F-16 C/Ds to Taiwan; a complete review of the cross-Strait military balance to assess Taiwan’s legitimate defense needs; removal of the restrictions on contacts between high-ranking American and Taiwanese officials; and a strong affirmation of the right of the people of Taiwan to determine their own political future.
There was no disagreement with her recommendations by the committee members or the other three witnesses: Randall G. Schriver of Armitage International LLC, Rupert J. Hammond-Chambers of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, and Professor Nancy Bernkopf Tucker of Georgetown University.
Dreyer conducts research on ethnic minorities in China, Sino-Japanese relations, Chinese military modernization, and China-Taiwan relations. She has served as chief Far East specialist at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the Asia advisor to the chief of naval operations at the United States Navy.