Senator Lindsey Graham called for America to abandon its longstanding China policy and said he is open to sending US soldiers to Taiwan to defend the island. The remarks came amid escalating tensions and a diplomatic freeze between Washington and Beijing.
In an interview on Fox News Sunday, the senator was asked if he was in favor of sending soldiers to Taiwan. Graham responded with call to overhaul America’s policy towards China.
For decades, Washington has refused to say whether it would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Dubbed “strategic ambiguity,” the policy has aimed to deter Beijing from attempting to retake the island by force and, at the same time, appease elements in Taiwan seeking to declare independence from the mainland.
Graham said strategic ambiguity was not working, however, declaring “I believe in a One China policy, but I would be willing to fight for Taiwan because Taiwan is a democracy. We stood with them for decades.”
The Republican senator predicted that hostilities with China could break out within a matter of months. “I think they’re setting the stage possibly for a blockade of Taiwan, that the Communist Chinese Party is going to test us dramatically this year and next year before the election,” he said.
Graham claimed the United States had only a short window of time to prepare for the coming conflict, calling to “increase training and get the F-16s they need in Taiwan,” He also complained about a “backlog“ of arms sales to the island, arguing the transfers should move ahead while proposing new US military deployments in Asia and elsewhere.
“I would move war forces to South Korea and Japan. I would put nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on all of our submarines all over the world,” Graham continued.
He additionally explained he was willing to send US troops to fight for Taipei, a dramatic departure from longstanding policy, saying “Yes, I’d be very much open to using US forces to defend Taiwan.”
Graham’s remarks echoed Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who told Fox News last week that sending US soldiers to Taiwan was “on the table” and “something that would be discussed by Congress and with the American people.”