U.S. bill allowing Taiwan officials to show flag being drafted

11/26/2019 05:19 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Washington, Nov. 25 (CNA) U.S. Senator Ted Cruz will soon propose a bill that would reverse a current ban on Taiwanese diplomats and military personnel displaying Taiwan's national flag on U.S. government property.

"Sen. Cruz is working on legislation with his colleagues that would allow diplomats and service members in the Taiwanese military to display their flag and wear their uniforms while in the United States on official business," a spokesman for the Republican senator told CNA on Monday.

"It's important for the United States and the rest of the world to stand alongside Taiwan and refuse to be bullied by the Chinese Communist Party."

The comments were made in response to a CNA inquiry after a former U.S. senior advisor to the Trump administration, Christian Whiton, said Friday that Cruz is drafting legislation to get rid of some U.S. restrictions on Taiwan under its "one China" policy.

A source familiar with the matter told CNA that the bill, to be titled "the Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act" or Taiwan SOS Act, will direct the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense to authorize diplomats and military members from Taiwan to display their national flag at U.S. government venues.

In effect, it directs the Department of State to remove 2015 U.S. government guidelines that prohibit all symbols of Taiwan sovereignty from being displayed on U.S. premises, the source said.

According to the source, the guidelines are considered confidential administration policy that cannot be provided to Congress but can be seen by congressional staffers on a read and return basis with a Department of State employee present.

The policy has been interpreted by U.S. Department of Defense to include military uniforms that include the flag of Taiwan or the name "Republic of China."

The 2015 guidelines stemmed from an incident in January 2015 when Taiwan's representative office in the U.S. raised the ROC (Taiwan) national flag at Twin Oaks Estate, the former residence of Republic of China ambassadors to the United States.

The flag-raising ceremony was the first one held in public since Taiwan and the U.S. ended official diplomatic relations in 1979.

Facing strong protests from the Chinese embassy, the Barack Obama administration released the guidelines to forbid Taiwanese diplomats from entering the State Department facilities, prohibit the raising of Taiwan's flag at Twin Oaks, and restrict any display of the flag of Taiwan on U.S. government property, according to the source.

(By Stacy Hsu and Joseph Yeh)


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