U.S. Congress sends TAIPEI Act to Trump for signing into law

03/17/2020 03:05 PM
The United States Capitol (CNA file photo)
The United States Capitol (CNA file photo)

Washington, March 16 (CNA) The U.S. Congress on Monday presented the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019 to President Donald Trump for signing into law, after it was passed unanimously by both chambers of Congress earlier this month.

According to U.S. legislative procedure, a proposed law passed by Congress must be presented to the president, who then has 10 days to consider whether to approve or disapprove it. Normally, bills which are neither signed nor vetoed within 10 days will automatically become law, even without the president's signature.

Excluding holidays, the deadline for Trump to sign or veto the TAIPEI Act is March 26.

On March 11, the U.S. Senate passed the TAIPEI Act, which is aimed at shoring up Taiwan's international presence, with unanimous consensus.

Under the rules of the Senate, unanimous consensus is a situation in which no member present objects to a proposal and a senator may request unanimous consent on the floor to set aside a specified rule or procedure so as to expedite proceedings.

The Senate's unanimous passage of the bill came after the House of Representatives voted 415-0 in favor of it on March 4.

The bill was first introduced in the Senate by Cory Gardner in May 2019, and Republican Congressman John Curtis put forth a similar version in the House in October 2019.

It is aimed at cementing U.S. support for Taiwan's diplomatic alliances around the world, amid pressure from China.

Having cleared both chambers of the Congress after they coordinated on passing identical versions, the TAIPEI Act has now been sent to Trump for signing into law.

The Act authorizes the U.S. State Department to consider "reducing its economic, security and diplomatic engagements with nations that take serious or significant actions to undermine Taiwan."

It also calls on the U.S. government to help Taiwan gain participation in international organizations, either as a member or an observer, and to express support for Taiwan's international participation whenever it has discussions with China.

The Taiwan government has thanked the U.S. for its support, saying Taipei will closely follow the legislative terms of the Act and continue to work with the U.S. pragmatically to expand Taiwan's international space.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party came to power in 2016, Taiwan has lost seven diplomatic allies to China, namely Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, the Solomon Islands, and Kiribati.

(By Stacy Hsu, Ko Lin, Emerson Lim and Frances Huang)

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