Sen. Sullivan trip to visit Taiwan president, as seen through the eyes of a Wall Street Journal reporter

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Sen. Dan Sullivan greets Taiwan President Lai Ching-te in Tapei in late May, 2024. Photo credit: Sen. Dan Sullivan's office

“Sen. Dan Sullivan stood beside the newly elected Taiwanese vice president in an orchid-draped room of the island’s presidential palace, making a promise that wasn’t wholly within his power to keep,” wrote the Wall Street Journal.

“’This is the message our bipartisan delegation wants to send to the people of Taiwan: You can count on the United States of America,’ said the Alaska Republican, a silver-haired former Marine.”

So begins a the feature that ran in the Journal on Monday, June 3, about the bipartisan congressional trip that Alaska U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan led with three other senators to Taiwan, where he was able to look the newly inaugurated President Lai Ching-te in the eye and tell him that America is standing with Taiwan.

Purple prose aside, Alaska’s senator is somewhat silver-haired now, but he is not a “former Marine.” He is a Marine Corps veteran, recently retired as a colonel after 30 years.

There truly is no such thing as a former Marine, as after service our Marine Veterans are just as dedicated to advancing our Nation and defending its ideals. If you become one of us, the fight in you will always be a part of our Nation’s moral cause,” according to the U.S. Marine Corps.

The distinction is often lost on civilians and is a common mistake.

The WSJ writer, Molly Ball, was an invited member of the press on a trip she described as being against a backdrop of a U.S. election “that has the world on edge. The prospect of former President Donald Trump’s return to the White House has Washington diplomats chattering and foreign leaders on tenterhooks. The unpredictable ex-president has sent mixed signals about some of America’s most pressing foreign-policy challenges, including hinting that the U.S. might not defend Taiwan if China attacks the island.”

She described Sullivan as a leading national security voice in the Senate.

“Caught in the middle of these political and geopolitical currents is Sullivan, a leading voice in his party on national security who has sought to maintain the GOP’s traditional Reaganite posture in the face of his party’s rising isolationism,” the reporter observed. She then side-eyed Sullivan over his statement condemning the conviction of Donald Trump on all 34 felony counts against him last week, which he called “a sad day for America … that sets a dangerous precedent and pushes our great nation even further into banana republic territory.”

The entire Wall Street Journal feature on Sullivan’s trip can be read is at this link, which as of this writing is not behind a paywall, so is available to non-subscribers.

While the meeting may have been against the backdrop of a U.S. election, it is also against the backdrop of increased Chinese aggression toward Taiwan, which asserts its independence. As the eighth president of Taiwan, Lai would be treated harshly by the Chinese if there was an invasion of the island by the mainland communist military.

Contrary to its commitment to pursue a peaceful solution, the People’s Republic of China has increasingly turned to military intimidation in an attempt to coerce Taiwan into submitting to Beijing. This includes an unprecedented number of air incursions, threatening propaganda, and exercises simulating attacks on Taiwan, according to the U.S. State Department.

At Asia’s largest security conference last week, China’s Defense Minister Dong Jun called Taiwan’s build up of defense capabilities “aggressive,” and said that President Lai is outgunned:

“Facing the strong military of the big motherland, such armed conspiracies will be futile … will only lead to their own destruction more rapidly,” Dong told the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Although Sullivan was not in that meeting with the Chinese Defense minister, Sullivan was present at the conference in Singapore after his trip to Taiwan.

Dong Jun has served as the 14th Minister of National Defense since December 2023. Prior to the appointment, he was the commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy from September 2021 to December 2023. His remarks at the international conference showed China’s naked aggression.

“Driven by China’s escalating military intimidation campaign since Lai’s Democratic Progressive party took power in 2016, Taipei has increased defense spending and started reforming its armed forces, including compulsory military service and more rigorous training,” he said.

“We always strive for peaceful unification. But the prospects for that are currently being eroded by the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatists and external forces,” Dong said, in reference to American support for Taiwan, which includes providing weapons to the Taiwan democratic government, which Dong said sends “very wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and embolden them to become very aggressive.”

Dong continued: “I call on the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces to wake up and return on the path to unification. Diligently study the relevant laws and don’t touch upon the red lines of the Anti-Secession Law.”

He was referring to a People’s Republic law passed in 2005 that says China may use “non-peaceful means” if anyone causes Taiwan’s secession or if “prospects for peaceful unification [are] completely exhausted.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. Hopefully, we have already installed Missile Defense & Offensive Systems in … Taiwan – Japan – S.Korea – Philippines – Diego Garcia, both onshore and offshore. The aggressive CCP regime is almost as much of a threat to Western Civilization as the Democrats and Controligarchs.

  2. This “bi-partisan” trip to Taiwan illustrates the disconnect of priorities of our permanent government’s obsession with causing, continuing and creating conflicts across the globe. The Neo-Con faction which obsesses on expanding the EU and NATO beyond the Black Sea, and dismantling Russia is faced with an epic disaster and defeat in Europe. They have burned up most available weapon systems and munition stockpiles throughout Europe and the US, and the massive proxy Ukrainian Army they built, trained and unleashed is in it’s death throes. The entire US and EU military industrial output is anemic and incapable of producing munitions in meaningful quantities or ramping up scale of production. The sanctions have backfired, and our state department succeeded in pushing Russia and the PRC into the strongest alliance in their history as neighboring states. The Pacific obsessed faction is spoiling for a naval/air war with the PRC, panicking that our military strength is being degraded in eastern Europe. You really have to feel for these Neo Cons, so many wars and dictators to fight, so many civilians to be killed and left to suffer in shattered countries, but the resources are limited. The justification to start a conflict that will destroy Taiwan as we are doing to Ukraine is conflicted. On the one hand “the United States recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China”, while simultaneously having a policy “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”. The overriding issue is our Neo-Con government is proven incompetent to achieve any lasting and strategic “victory” in the dozens of proxy wars we engaged in since 1945. The costs of these projects have accumulated, accentuating the general incompetent domestic governance, now totaling 125% debt to GDP. If you remove the government spending of printed money and IOUs component from calculating the GDP, we are at a 250% debt ratio. Maybe our government should focus on the crises they created that jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, and democracy of the people in America.

  3. Danny is too eager to fight a war that cant be won with “china joe” at the helm.
    Joe brags about having spent more time in China than the US as VP during the Obama/Obiden years.
    China donated money to Penn State to fund the Obiden center for a reason.

    Why waste money resources and risk loss of life on a war that cant possibly be won.

    • There will be a lot of lives wasted and Taiwan a smoking ruins if Sullivan gets his way. The Ukraine disaster isn’t over yet, there are still a few Ukrainians left to be killed. The neo cons can’t wait to start a conflict killing Chinese people.

  4. Taiwan has been functionally independent and prospering for over 75 years, whereas for much of that time the dictatorship of China has systematically murdered, tortured, and imprisoned many millions of its own people. The remarkable travesty of US government policy, going back to President Nixon and his Department of State (Henry Kissinger), has been to suppose that China would mature into a gentler and responsible trading nation. Such are the willful fantasies of our globalist diplomats, world bankers, and the captains of international industry.

    The terrible and metastasizing malignancy that is today’s communist China cannot be contained unless Taiwan remains independent. If and when the people of China can heal their nation of its deadly disease of tyrannical government, then perhaps the people of Taiwan will eventually and cheerfully accept reunification. Until that time, the free people of the world must determine that Taiwan remains free! Meanwhile, the free world must continually say to China, “Free Tibet!”

  5. I was going to Taiwan and getting wined and dined by their leaders long before Dan Sullivan was even in law school. Nancy and I feasted on ten course meals. We were treated like real royalty. Chang Kai Shek even took me sight seeing to see the big Budda (Not Bill Clinton).

    • I couldn’t get past the 5th course where they were serving sweet and sour unborn pork. Frankie likes to exaggerate a little. It was CKS’s former mistress who took him sightseeing. But that’s OK. Frankie doesn’t get things correct much anymore.

  6. The Wall Street Journal is nothing compared to what it used to be. Since Rupert Murdoch bought it in 2007, the WSJ became just another USA Today, printing mostly garbage and only a little real, unbiased financial news.

  7. China murdered one million Americans when they unleashed the China virus on the world. China lied about the release (and the source) of the virus which allowed the spread to kill many more people.

    At some point the murderous dictatorship will attack Taiwan.

  8. Sullivan is a fencer. I don’t trust him. He votes for Biden’s policies. Does not come against the injustice of what they are doing to trump, and why would he, since he did not vote to validate 2006 election. So anything that’s reported about what’s he’s doing, I have to ask myself what’s his motivation. Democrat secret moves.

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