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Tipsheet

'Will Not Be Bullied': Marsha Blackburn Defies China With Visit to Taiwan

AP Photo/John Raoux

Republican U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee became the latest high-profile American official to visit Taiwan this week during a whirlwind trip through the Pacific, and her message was clear: America and her allies will not be bullied by the Chinese Communist Party. 

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Blackburn's swing through the Pacific also included meetings in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea.

"One thing that is very clear is that the threat from the CCP is real," Blackburn told Townhall in between meetings with Taiwan's government and business leaders on Friday morning. "The individuals in this region feel as if they are on the front lines when it comes to dealing with the CCP."

An invasion of Taiwan by China "would have a worldwide impact" and "would embolden the CCP," Blackburn said before explaining her conversations with other Pacific Island nations revealed "some heartburn in this region of the world" over who would next be targeted by Beijing if it seizes Taiwan by force. 

But as Blackburn explained, Taiwan is "definitely looking for more" support — and faster — to fend off the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping. Taiwan is seeking to "beef up" its military reserves to be used in the event China tries to use force, but Blackburn learned that U.S. sales of necessary products are "moving much too slowly" and "approvals need to pick up," Blackburn said. 

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While things look bleak for Taiwan to some outside observers, Blackburn said the Taiwanese aren't discouraged. "Their focus is on preparedness," she said. "There was no comment of 'dire,' there was no comment of a date that they expect something to happen. They feel like there is a path for preserving their independence," Blackburn noted. "They fully realize that China is intent on Global domination and that they are right here in the neighborhood." 

In their conversations with Blackburn, Taiwan's leaders highlighted that the United States remains "their partner of choice" whether they are working on "pushing back" against Beijing or "pushing forward" for their people with economic opportunities. 

But not every nation is taking the same approach to China, as Blackburn explained. The government of the Solomon Islands has pursued a cozier relationship with the CCP, but Blackburn noted that residents of the islands have not "embraced" their government's choice. Meanwhile in Papua New Guinea, the current government is "standing up to the CCP" and seeking partners other than Beijing. 

In Taiwan, Blackburn said her conversations with government leaders reinforced the "shared values" between the people of Taiwan and the United States. "The love of democracy, the love of liberty and freedom and their desire to protect that" came up in her meetings, along with the importance of "preserving their culture" in the face of Beijing's aggression and the specter of losing their identity. "I feel like Taiwan is a country," Blackburn noted. "If Taiwan was not a country, then why would China be talking about reunification?"

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