Wed, 29 Jun 2022

US senators introduce security assistance bill for Taiwan

Robert Besser
22 Jun 2022, 00:21 GMT+10

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Two U.S. senators have introduced a bill, the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, to increase U.S. support for Taiwan, including providing billions of dollars in security assistance and changes to an old law that will expand Washington's unofficial ties with Taipei.

Since the U.S. is already Taiwan's main supporter and arms supplier, the bill will likely increase friction between Beijing and Washington, which accuses China of ramping up military coercion against Taiwan.

According to its text, the bill threatens China with severe sanctions for any aggression against Taiwan, and would provide $4.5 billion in foreign military financing over the next four years, as well as designate Taiwan a "major non-NATO ally."

The bill's sponsors, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat, and Republican Lindsey Graham, said it would be the most comprehensive restructuring of U.S. policy toward Taiwan since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

In a statement, Menendez said, "Beijing continues to seek to coerce and isolate Taiwan, there should be no doubt or ambiguity about the depth and strength of our determination to stand with the people of Taiwan and their democracy."

The bill is a clear message to China that it should not make the same mistakes as Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, he added.

"The danger will only grow worse if we show weakness in the face of Chinese threats and aggression toward Taiwan," Graham said.

Both Washington and Beijing have strongly maintained their opposing views about Taiwan.

Responding to a question about the bill, Liu Pengyu, spokesman for China's embassy in Washington, said, "If the U.S. insists on taking actions that will harm China's interests, we are compelled to take resolute countermeasures."

A U.S. official has said some of the bill's elements made President Joe Biden's administration and the State Department concerned about antagonizing China.

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