U.S. legislators reintroduce Taiwan Fellowship Act

03/11/2021 02:38 PM
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The U.S. Capitol. CNA file photo
The U.S. Capitol. CNA file photo

Washington, March 10 (CNA) Members of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday reintroduced the Taiwan Fellowship Act, which would establish a program allowing U.S. federal government employees to study and work in Taiwan for up to two years.

In the Senate, the bill was jointly introduced by Democratic Senator Edward Markey, who is chairman of the East Asia Subcommittee on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Republican Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Democrat Ami Bera and Republican Steve Chabot, who serve as the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Asia Subcommittee.

It was previously introduced in both chambers of Congress in June 2020, but was not included in the congressional schedule of the previous term.

If passed, the bill would allow fellows to spend their first year in Taiwan learning Mandarin Chinese and gaining knowledge about the people, history and political climate of Taiwan, as well as issues affecting the relationship between the United States and the Indo- Pacific region.

In their second year, the fellows would work at either a government agency or a civic institution in Taiwan.

No fewer than five fellows would be selected in each of the first two years of the program, and no fewer than 10 fellows would be selected in the ensuing years.

In a statement on Markey's website, he said that the act would "build upon the U.S. strategic partnership with Taiwan's vibrant democracy."

"While China seeks to isolate Taiwan from meaningful cooperation in tackling our global challenges, the swift passage of the Taiwan Fellowship Act would be a key step to signal that America is back, as committed as ever to our partnership with Taiwan, and re-engaged in the Indo-Pacific region," Markey said.

Rubio, meanwhile, said that the bill is modeled after the "successful Mansfield Fellowship with Japan" and aims to expand Washington's bilateral and cultural ties with Taipei.

The program would provide experiences that are crucial for developing experts on Taiwan in the U.S. federal government, said Bera, while Chabot said that it would deepen the relationship between the U.S and Taiwan.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Chiang Yi-ching)

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