SecNav Appears to Knuckle Under to China. Over a Breakfast?

Faye Higbee

SecNav Carlos Del Toro cut ties with the NAA – the Naval Attachés Association, a private entity that holds events as breakfast meetings with international and national military officers. Del Toro cut the ties in December after China threw a fit over the private nonprofit group inviting three Taiwanese officers to a September breakfast. They read their names on the NAA website and hit the ceiling.

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SecNav rewards temper tantrums?

China sent numerous emails to the Association, even Pentagon officials, warning of “dangerous” consequences if the Taiwanese were allowed to attend. They demanded that the three persons be “disinvited.”

In one email, a Chinese military officer warned a Pentagon official that it was “dangerous and could lead to many consequences, intended or not,” if U.S. officials didn’t step in and get the three Taiwanese officers disinvited from the event.

Another Chinese email, sent to association leadership, with several NAA members CC’d, warned that “there is no doubt that your military personnel in Beijing will be adversely affected” if Taiwanese officers attended the breakfast.

A few months later, on Dec. 28, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro banned Navy personnel from engaging with the NAA, a 501c8 fraternal society that brings together international naval attachés for breakfasts, talks and networking.

Military Times

China’s temper tantrum stems from the “One China Policy“, a 1979 policy created by Jimmy Carter that recognized only one China. But Taiwan wants to be an Independent nation, and China wants it back as part of its Communist empire. Mainland China is excessively touchy about anything to do with Taiwan. And demanding that a private organization not allow invitations to Taiwanese military members is a detriment to fellowship with US military members. But then, they threw another fit when it was learned that US military personnel are on the island.

[The Taiwanese invitation is] “a gross interference in China’s internal affairs, a severe violation of related international laws and norms, and a blunt political provocation against China.”

Chinese Senior Col. Ge Zhang

So, in short. SecNav Del Toro and other military officials are trying to walk on eggshells that eventually will come to no good end. If conflict should break out between Taiwan and China, will the United States be a worthless partner?


Featured screenshot of SecNav Carlos Del Toro

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