Trump signs omnibus spending bill including pro-Taiwan provisions

12/28/2020 03:21 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Washington and Taipei, Dec. 27 (CNA) United States President Donald Trump on Sunday signed a US$2.3 trillion government spending package that incorporates provisions supporting Taiwan's defense capacity and its participation in international organizations.

In a statement posted on its official website, the White House said Trump signed H.R. 133, also known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2021.

The package provides US$900 billion in stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and combines 12 separate annual appropriations bills amounting to US$1.4 trillion.

One of the incorporated bills is the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020, which supports the deepening of U.S.-Taiwan ties on the basis of the Taiwan Relations Act (1979).

According to the Act, the U.S. Congress believes Taiwan is a vital part of the U.S. Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and as such the U.S. Government should support Taiwan's continued pursuit of asymmetric capabilities.

"The U.S. should conduct regular sales and transfers of defense articles to Taiwan in order to enhance its self-defense capabilities, particularly its efforts to develop and integrate asymmetric capabilities, including undersea warfare and air defense capabilities, into its military forces," the text of the Act reads.

In terms of Taiwan's exclusion from international organizations due to Beijing's opposition, the U.S. Congress believes such a situation is detrimental to global health, civilian air safety, efforts to counter transnational crime, in addition to having a negative impact on Taiwan's democracy.

The Act stresses that it is the policy of the U.S. to advocate for Taiwan's meaningful participation in the United Nations, the World Health Assembly, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Criminal Police Organization, and other international bodies, as appropriate.

The U.S. should also advocate for Taiwan's membership in the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and other international organizations for which statehood is not a requirement for membership, it added.

In the section "Review of Department of State Taiwan Guidelines," the Act says the secretary of state shall conduct a review of the Department of State's guidance that governs relations with Taiwan not later than 180 days after the enactment of the Act.

It also said the State Department's guidance regarding relations with Taiwan should reflect the long standing, comprehensive, and values-based relationship the U.S. shares with Taiwan, and contribute to the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Monday issued a statement welcoming Trump's signing of the omnibus bill.

"MOFA once again thanked the U.S. government and Congress for supporting Taiwan-U.S. relations through concrete actions," the statement said, adding that Taiwan will continue to deepen the global partnership between both sides in every field.

It also mentioned that the newly signed law includes US$3 million to support activities under the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), a U.S.-Taiwan initiative launched in 2015 to bring Taiwan's expertise in areas such as public health, disaster relief, women's empowerment and cyber security to the global stage.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Emerson Lim)

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