U.S. lawmakers introduce Taiwan Fellowship Act

06/27/2020 12:55 PM
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Washington, June 26 (CNA) U.S. lawmakers have introduced the Taiwan Fellowship Act to help U.S. federal government officials gain a better understanding about Taiwan, said Democratic Senator Edward Markey, one of the lawmakers proposing the act, on Friday.

In a statement, Markey said the Taiwan Fellowship Act is modeled after the 1994 Mansfield Fellowship Program between the United States and Japan. It will provide federal government employees with a two-year fellowship under an exchange program to allow them to learn, live and work in Taiwan.

In addition to Markey, the act was jointly introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, Republican House Representative Ted Yoho and Democratic House Representative Ami Bera to both chambers of the U.S. Congress.

Markey said when they conclude the exchange program and return to the federal government, the fellows are expected to be better positioned to advance U.S. values and interests in the Indo Pacific region by taking advantage of the special emphasis in strengthening Washington's strategic partnership with Taiwan.

"The U.S. strategic partnership with Taiwan's vibrant democracy of 23 million people continues to grow from engagement and cooperation in areas such as trade, human rights and the rule of law, security, and battling a global pandemic," Markey said in the statement.

"Amidst China's concerted campaign to isolate Taiwan on the global stage, an exchange of our most qualified public servants to the island nation of Taiwan is a visible demonstration of our unwavering commitment to Taiwan," the congressman said.

The proposed act reiterates the U.S. commitment in the Taiwan Relations Act, which affirmed the U.S. policy "to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan," according to the wording of the bill.

Moreover, the bill is consistent with the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, emphasizing "the United States has grown its strategic partnership with Taiwan's vibrant democracy of 23,000,000 people."

Echoing Markey, Yoho said in the same statement that the Taiwan Fellowship Act is a long overdue investment by Washington to support the professional development of Taiwan experts in the U.S. federal government.

For his part, Bera said the U.S. and Taiwan have built a strong relationship and he believed the act will further enhance bilateral ties by allowing federal government officials to equip themselves with a stronger understanding of the Indo-Pacific region so that they can better inform U.S. policy making when they return home.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Frances Huang)

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