The island of Taiwan has been in a conflict with China for decades. China sees self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway island province while Taiwan sees itself as an independent democratic country. The tension between the two has increased in the last year, with China's President Xi Jinping recently stating that “reunification with Taiwan must be fulfilled.” The Taiwanese government fears that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) may initiate a war to invade. The United States has provided Taiwan with weapons in case China decides to invade Taiwan, like Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
This week, U.S. Congressman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, met with Taiwan government officials to discuss national security. The visit was part of a bipartisan delegation that aimed to show support for Taiwan. President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-Wen shared a photograph with McCaul via Twitter and expressed gratitude for the support. –“Just back from the US, I am delighted to see Chairman Rep. McCaul [...] & his US Congressional delegation. We are grateful for their support, & we look forward to building ever stronger Taiwan-US ties to defend our shared values of freedom & democracy,” she shared on August 8, linked below.
U.S. Congressmen reportedly advised Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen to consider using the SpaceX Starlink satellite system for national security purposes amid their conflict with China. According to the Washington Examiner, McCaul and Rep. French Hill (R-AR) spoke with President Tsai about improving Taiwan’s surveillance capabilities. “Communist China is very good at what we call intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. They have great eyes-on. They can see everything in the Pacific, in some cases better than we can in this area. Taiwan has none of that,” McCaul said. “We had a discussion, French Hill and I talked to the president about bringing Starlink into Taiwan.”
“I thought that was one of the great constructive takeaways from our private meeting, was the idea of moving the Starlink system in so they can see into the Straits and into China and better respond and have better deterrence,” McCaul reportedly said. Rep. French Hill (R-AR) mentioned that Starlink could be useful to the island of Taiwan because it currently depends on an undersea fiber-optic internet cable for communication which is vulnerable to attacks. SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are reliable because they operate in space and directly beam internet service to user antennas on Earth. Starlink has demonstrated to be useful with assisting soldiers and civilians in the war-torn country of Ukraine. However, Taiwan does have plans to launch its own satellite constellation. It is unknown whether the Taiwanese President will accept the Starlink system on the Island.
Just back from the US, I am delighted to see Chairman @RepMcCaul of the @HouseForeignGOP & his US Congressional delegation. We are grateful for their support, & we look forward to building ever stronger #Taiwan-#US ties to defend our shared values of freedom & democracy. pic.twitter.com/hgzxFjQL02— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) April 9, 2023
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Featured Images Source: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen via Twitter / SpaceX Starlink.com
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.