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U.S. senators reintroduce draft bill on Taiwan's global recognition

2019/05/25 17:06:51

Washington, May 24 (CNA) Four United States senators reintroduced a draft bill on Thursday to ensure Taiwan's international recognition, amid China increased efforts to limit Taipei's international participation and poach its diplomatic allies.

Senators Cory Gardner, Marco Rubio, John Cornyn and Chris Coons reintroduced the draft Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, or the TAIPEI Act, which will require the U.S. government to engage with governments all over the world in a bid to support Taiwan's diplomatic recognition and strengthen unofficial ties with Taiwan.

The draft bill, which was first introduced in September 2018, states that 90 days after its enactment and every 180 days, "the Secretary of State or a designee of the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on actions taken by the United States to reaffirm and strengthen Taiwan's international alliances around the world."

Taiwan's diplomatic allies have shrunk to 17 countries as China has lured the Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, and El Salvador since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016, the draft bill notes.

The draft legislation authorizes the U.S. State Department to downgrade the U.S.' ties with any government that takes adverse actions with regard to Taiwan, and allows the State Department to suspend or adjust U.S. foreign assistance to governments that take actions unfavorable to Taiwan.

According to the draft bill, the U.S. government should help Taiwan gain participation in international organizations, either as a member or an observer, and should express its support for Taiwan's international participation when it interacts with Beijing.

The draft TAIPEI Act also aims to continue Washington's commitment to ensuring Taiwan's security by conducting "regular transfers of defense articles to Taiwan that are tailored to meet the existing and likely future threat" from China.

The draft bill also mentions the Taiwan Travel Act, which was signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump on March 16, 2018 to encourage mutual visits between Taiwan and the U.S. officials.

"The United States should use every tool to support Taiwan's standing on the international stage," Gardner said in a joint statement issued by the four senators who sponsored the bill.

"This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to stand up to China's bullying tactics, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan."

In the statement, Rubio said he was proud to join his colleagues in reintroducing the legislation that was a reaffirmation of the commitment to the U.S.-Taiwan relationship and would allow the State Department to take diplomatic action against governments that alter diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of China.

"China's efforts to isolate Taiwan by bullying and pressuring countries, especially in our own Hemisphere, cannot go unanswered," Rubio said.

Coons, meanwhile, said there was strong, bipartisan support for Taiwan's free-market democracy and its diplomatic relationships around the world, and the bill confirmed that.

"Taiwan is a success story in its region, and both now and in the future, the United States must continue to emphasize the strength of U.S.-Taiwan ties and maintain the status quo regarding Taiwan's place in the international community," Coons said.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Frances Huang)
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