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Taiwan Assurance Act introduced in U.S. Senate

2019/03/27 11:44:39

Washington, March 26 (CNA) A group of American senators across party lines introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday that would cement two-way ties with Taiwan and support its international presence with the Taiwan Relations Act set to mark its 40th anniversary.

In a statement, Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, said he has introduced legislation with five other senators that "would enhance the U.S.-Taiwan relationship and bolster Taiwan's participation in the international community."

"Taiwan is a vital democratic partner of the United States. Forty years after the Taiwan Relations Act was signed into law, our bilateral ties should reflect this reality," Cotton said.

The legislation, called the Taiwan Assurance Act, "would deepen bilateral security, economic, and cultural relations, while also sending a message that China's aggressive cross-Strait behavior will not be tolerated," he stressed.

One of the bill's co-sponsors, Democrat Robert Menendez from New Jersey, felt Congress needed to make a statement of support for Taiwan 40 years after the Taiwan Relations Act was passed in April 1979.

"It is critical that Congress speak with one voice about the importance of maintaining Taiwan's diplomatic space, deepening our ties with Taipei, and assuring the people of Taiwan have a voice in determining their own future," Menendez said.

Another of the bill's co-sponsors, Republican Marco Rubio of Florida, said the U.S. must continue to enhance its strategic relationship with Taiwan against an increasingly aggressive China.

"Taiwan is an important democratic partner whose security is critical to advancing America's national security interests in the Indo-Pacific," he said.

According to the statement, the Taiwan Assurance Act would require the U.S. president to review the State Department's guidelines on U.S. relations with Taiwan and direct the secretary of defense to work to include Taiwan in bilateral and multilateral military training exercises.

It would also mandate that a flag or general officer serve as the U.S. defense attaché in Taipei and that the U.S. would continue to push for Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations.

Beyond that, the bill expresses congressional support for Taiwan's asymmetric defense strategy, regular U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and the resumption of bilateral trade talks between the U.S. and Taiwan.

Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Flor Wang)
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