U.S. Congress task force suggests name change for Taiwan office

10/01/2020 01:25 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Washington, Sept. 30 (CNA) A report published by a U.S. Congress task force on Wednesday said that the U.S. should allow Taiwan to change the name of its office in the country to the "Taiwan Representative Office" or a similar title, in reflection of the "broad, substantial relations" it shares with Taiwan.

The suggested change from the existing "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office" was one of over a dozen regarding Taiwan put forth by the task force, which said that "major improvements" are required on this front in view of Taiwan's significance to U.S. national security.

The report was authored by the U.S. House of Representatives' China Task Force, which was formed in May and consists of 15 members, all from the Republican Party.

Since its formation, the members have had discussions with around 130 experts on how to combat the threat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which the report categorizes as "the greatest national and economic security challenge of this generation."

According to the report, Taiwan is a "critical focal point in the free world's confrontation with the CCP, and under a more direct threat of CCP armed aggression than any other U.S. partner."

If China assumes control of Taiwan, it would harm the U.S. security alliance and gut the world's technology supply chains, due to Taiwan being "the sole source of the most advanced semiconductor technology," the report said.

Despite Taiwan's "drastically increased significance" to the U.S. over the past 40 years, however, the report noted that the core elements of U.S. policy toward Taiwan have remained stagnant and several changes are needed.

The first recommendation listed in this regard is to allow Taiwan to change the name of its office in the U.S. to the "Taiwan Representative Office" or something similar.

Taiwan
Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the U.S., Hsiao Bi-khim, stands in front of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington, D.C./ Photo from facebook.com/TECRO.USA

This is because "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office" is an "anachronistic title that does not reflect the fact that the U.S. enjoys broad, substantial relations with all of Taiwan, not just its capital city," the report said.

Other recommendations the report lists include the passing of the Taiwan Assurance Act, the Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act and the Taiwan Fellowship Act.

In view of China's aggressive actions in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, including "increasingly provocative naval and military aviation operations" near Taiwan, the report suggests that the U.S. should continue to encourage and approve arms sales to Taiwan.

Congress should also ensure that the U.S. Department of Defense expands security cooperation with Taiwan, such as commencing bilateral military exercises, according to the report.

Military planes between Taiwan and the United States conduct air refueling missions in U.S. airspace. The image was posted by the American Institute in Taiwan on their Facebook page in August.
Military planes between Taiwan and the United States conduct air refueling missions in U.S. airspace. The image was posted by the American Institute in Taiwan on their Facebook page in August.

In terms of trade, the report described China's policies as undermining fair competition through restricting the sale of foreign products within the country and giving Chinese companies preferential treatment.

The report also accuses China of "rampant theft" of U.S. intellectual property.

To insulate the U.S. from the effects of China's trade policies, the report suggests that the U.S. strengthen economic ties with its allies, including Taiwan.

The U.S. should work with Taiwan to "resolve specific outstanding trade issues" and take steps to launch trade agreement negotiations once these issues are addressed, the report said.

Although the report does not specify exactly what barriers are present in U.S.-Taiwan trade relations, several reports by the U.S. trade representative in the past have pointed to the issue of Taiwan's restrictions on imports of U.S. pork and beef.

To resolve this issue, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced in late August that Taiwan will begin to ease such restrictions next year, with the hope of brokering a trade deal with the U.S.

(By Stacy Hsu and Chiang Yi-ching)

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