Trump signs TAIPEI Act into law (update)

03/27/2020 01:29 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Washington, March 26 (CNA) U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday signed into law the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019, which is aimed at supporting Taiwan's international presence.

First introduced in the U.S. Senate by Cory Gardner last May, the Act was passed in the Senate on March 11, one week after the House of Representatives voted 415-0 in its favor.

"This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to ramp up our support for Taiwan, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan," Gardner said Thursday after Trump signed the bill.

The Act calls for Washington to "reduce its economic, security and diplomatic engagements with nations that take serious or significant actions to undermine Taiwan," which is an open expression of U.S. support for Taiwan's diplomatic alliances around the world amid pressure from China.

The TAIPEI Act also calls on the U.S. government to help Taiwan gain participation in international organizations, either as a member or an observer, and to back Taiwan's efforts in that regard whenever Washington has bilateral engagements with Beijing.

"The United States should use every tool to support Taiwan's standing on the international stage," Gardner said in a joint statement with Democratic Senator Chris Coons, who co-authored the TAIPEI Act.

Gardner applauded President Trump's signing of the bipartisan legislation and said he will "continue to advocate on behalf of Taiwan and the Taiwanese people, as guided by United States law."

In similar vein, Coons said the bill sends a clear message that the U.S. stands with Taiwan's free-market democracy.

"I look forward to finding additional ways to support the positive role Taiwan plays in international affairs," he added.

In the joint statement, the two senators said the Act "articulates a clear U.S. policy to support Taiwan's participation in appropriate international organizations like the World Health Organization, which would help Taiwan respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and be able to share globally its expertise and knowledge in handling this crisis."

Furthermore, the act also calls on the U.S. administration to enhance economic cooperation with Taiwan and encourages the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to seek opportunities to strengthen and promote bilateral trade relations and agreements.

On Friday, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed thanks to the U.S. president for signing the legislation into law and said Taiwan will continue to work with the U.S. to promote shared values and common goals.

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, Frances Huang, Christie Chen and Ko Lin)

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