Republican National Committee members are discussing a resolution that would declare Taiwan a “free and sovereign nation” on the heels of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial trip to the island nation this week and China’s shows of retaliation.
Chairwoman Ronna McDaniels was copied on an email Wednesday, reviewed by HuffPost, revealing a portion of the proposed resolution that at least one member felt was too inflammatory to put out during Pelosi’s Asia tour. The full committee may bring it up at its meeting in Chicago this week.
“RESOLVED, That the RNC calls for U.S. defending Taiwan militarily against China’s invasion and recognizing Taiwan diplomatically as a free and sovereign nation,” some of the proposed language reads.
The resolution doesn’t carry any weight beyond signaling the party’s political positions and would still need to be adopted by the entire RNC.
A commitment to back Taiwan aligns with many Republicans’ hawkish stance on China as a threat to the United States as a global economic superpower. But recognizing Taiwan as a free nation doesn’t align with how the U.S. has approached relations with China and Taiwan for the past 40 years.
Under the One China Policy, the United States recognizes Beijing while also maintaining unofficial diplomatic relations with self-governing Taiwan, which China still views as its territory. Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan — the first by a U.S. House speaker in 25 years — inflamed relations with China. The Chinese Communist Regime greeted her arrival with military exercises.
Republicans took the unusual step this week of praising Pelosi. Two dozen Senate Republicans released a letter in support of her visit, noting it was consistent with the One China Policy and Taiwanese Relations Act. The Biden administration had reportedly advised Pelosi against going.
It’s not clear how the RNC will approach the resolution at its meeting. The subcommittee often considers resolutions that don’t make it to the floor.
At least one national committeeman, Hawaii state Rep. Gene Ward, was concerned that language recognizing Taiwan as sovereign and expressing a desire for U.S. military intervention in the event of a Chinese invasion was “a bit inflammatory,” according to the emails reviewed by HuffPost.
“The liberal press and especially as well as [Chinese President] Xi Jinping’s propagandists would also probably interpret this … as a lot of saber rattling and pouring gasoline on the fire … when the speaker of the U.S. House is still in Taiwan,” Ward wrote. “The noise this would create and draw attention to is not something that the RNC needs this close to the midterms or until our congressional delegation returns to American soil.”
The original resolution was spearheaded by RNC member Solomon Yue, who is the vice president of Republicans Overseas, a political organization for U.S. expats. Yue did not respond to a request for comment from HuffPost.
Ward and others had apparently signed off on the resolution before Pelosi’s trip became a complicating factor.
“If this was last week or last month when you first submitted it and we all signed on, no problem. But now there is a different world out there, and it’s in Hawaii’s backyard,” Ward wrote.
Ward told HuffPost that the bigger concern was not the midterms but the broader geopolitical climate. “The geopolitics of China, the U.S. and Taiwan is what is at stake here.”
Earlier this year, the RNC made news when it passed a resolution censuring Republican Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for sitting on the House’s Jan. 6 select committee and referring to the Capitol attack as “legitimate political discourse.”
The RNC didn’t immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.