Washington backs bill to treat Taiwan as 'equivalent to foreign govts'
The bill, which needs to be signed by the US Senate, starkly contradicts Washington's "strategic ambiguity" towards Taiwan and Beijing's One China Policy.
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee pushed forward the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, which will provide Taiwan with $4.5 billion in security aid and a $2 billion loan guarantee for the purchase of military equipment.
The lawmakers passed the bill, which will be brought to the Senate, according to a statement by Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch.
"We must get ahead of a future crisis and give Xi Jinping reasons to think twice about invading or coercing Taiwan. I hope the full Senate will vote on this legislation soon," the statement said.
The bill will provide Taiwan with aid over four years, in addition to designating the island as a "Major Non-NATO Ally."
In addition, the legislation will also direct the US government to engage with the "democratic government of Taiwan" as a legitimate representative of the population on the island, prohibiting restrictions and limits regarding engagements between US officials and their Taiwanese counterparts.
The bill also calls on the US Secretary of State to permit the display of Taiwanese sovereignty symbols - including the Taiwanese flag - and to diplomatically treat Taiwan as "equivalent to other foreign governments."
Despite all this, the legislation noted that the bill's actions are not to be interpreted as the US restoring diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
There will be a training program with Taiwan, as per the bill, which will train defense capabilities and force interoperability. The bill also addresses the Secretary of State to deal with Taiwan-related disinformation and propaganda, and to create a strategy to address China's 'economic coercion' against countries that are supporting Taiwan.
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While the US threatens to pass a bill that looks to implement treating Taiwan like a sovereign government, it is adamant about its commitment to the One China Policy, presenting a weird contradiction.
Earlier this month, escalating tensions with China, the Biden administration announced the sale of $1.1bn worth of arms to Taiwan within the framework of three contracts.
The largest contract is owed to a $655 million logistics package for the Taiwanese surveillance radar program. Harpoon air-to-sea missiles worth $355 million form the second contract while the third consists of Sidewinder air-to-air missiles worth $85 million, revealed the US Department of State, asserting that the equipment was necessary for Taiwan to “maintain a sufficient self-defense capability”.
US Congress has a countdown of 30 days to assess the agreements and give approval to the sales.
Since early August, China has carried out several large-scale military exercises near Taiwan in response to the visits of high-ranking US officials to the island.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei in August also led China to announce ending cooperation with the United States on a number of issues such as climate change, anti-drug efforts, and military talks.