Taiwan yesterday thanked US senators for introducing legislation that aims to help Taipei keep its 17 remaining allies, after China within three years poached five of the nation’s diplomatic allies.
The bipartisan Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act introduced on Monday by Republican senators Cory Gardner and Marco Rubio, and Democratic senators Ed Markey and Bob Menendez is intended to strengthen Taiwan’s standing in the world, a news release issued by Gardner said.
It was created in response to five nations’ severance of diplomatic ties with Taiwan over the past two-and-a-half years due to Chinese pressure, it added.
“The TAIPEI Act requires a US strategy to engage with governments around the world to support Taiwan’s diplomatic recognition or strengthen unofficial ties with Taiwan,” the statement said.
It authorizes the US Department of State to downgrade US relations with any government that takes adverse action regarding Taiwan, including suspending or altering foreign assistance, such as military financing, it said.
“This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to stand up to China’s bullying tactics against Taiwan, and will send a strong message to those nations considering siding with China over Taiwan that there will be consequences for such actions,” Gardner was quoted as saying in the news release.
“Beijing is promising paydays to governments to entice them to cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan,” Markey said. “Without a coherent US strategy to push back, Taiwan’s official partners might drop from 17 to zero. We must stand up for our friends in Taiwan.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) expressed gratitude for the senators’ long-term support.
Washington is the nation’s most important ally, Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said, thanking the US Congress for its long-standing support.
“We will also engage in close negotiations with different divisions of the US government to ensure that Taiwan’s international space will not be affected by other factors” Lin said.
Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, El Salvador, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso have switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing.
A US Department of State spokesperson last month said that the decision by El Salvador, the last nation to cut ties, was disappointing.
“Although we recognize the sovereign right of every country to determine its diplomatic relations, we are deeply disappointed by this decision,” the spokesperson said.
Additional reporting by Su Yung-yao
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