U.S. lawmakers reintroduce Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act

03/27/2021 02:11 PM
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Marco Rubio / CNA file photo
Marco Rubio / CNA file photo

Washington, March 26 (CNA) Two United States bipartisan lawmakers on Friday reintroduced the Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act, which according to them, seeks to update U.S. policy toward Taiwan to better reflect U.S. values and the realities on the ground.

The bill was jointly introduced by Republican Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, who is chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

If the act were passed, it would change the status of the head of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official ties.

Under the act, the position of AIT director would be changed to "representative," and its appointment would have to be approved by the Senate, as is required for all U.S. ambassadors.

It would also require the U.S. president to establish an "inter-agency Taiwan Task Force" comprised of senior government officials who would submit an annual report to Congress detailing actions that should be taken to enhance U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Another provision would establish a nonprofit U.S.-Taiwan Cultural Exchange Foundation, which would work with local governments and educational institutions to send American high school and university students to Taiwan to study Chinese, history and politics.

The act would also direct the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress on how the U.S. could work with the Taiwanese government to establish an alternative to China's Confucius Institutes, which offer Chinese language education courses globally.

"I'm proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill, which seeks to update U.S. policy to better reflect our core values as well as the current realities in the Indo-Pacific region," Rubio said in a statement on Friday.

Merkley, meanwhile, also called for the U.S. to keep building a robust relationship with Taiwan.

"Let's pass the Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act, so we can expand exchange programs, continue to encourage Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations, and work together to defend our businesses from the Chinese government's coercion," he said.

The Taiwan Relations Reinforcement Act was reintroduced that day by Rubio and Markey during the first session of the 117th Congress.

The bill was previously introduced to the Senate in October 2020, but was not included in the congressional schedule of the previous term.

(By Stacy Hsu and Ko Lin)

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