Several US senators have called for the swift passage of a bill in the US Congress aimed at helping Taiwan keep its diplomatic allies, one day after Taiwan announced the severance of ties with the Solomon Islands.
Taiwan cut diplomatic ties with the Solomon Islands after the South Pacific nation decided to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Monday.
It left Taiwan with 16 diplomatic allies.
Taiwan-friendly US Senator Cory Gardner denounced Beijing’s actions in a tweet and called on the US Senate to pass the legislation he introduced to help Taiwan amid China’s growing efforts to poach its diplomatic allies.
“China’s hostile actions toward Taipei will be met with resolve by the free world. I urge the Senate to immediately consider my TAIPEI Act, which would impose consequences on nations downgrading ties with Taiwan in favor of China,” Gardner said on Twitter, referring to the draft “Taiwan allies international protection and enhancement initiative act,” which he and senators Marco Rubio, John Cornyn and Chris Coons reintroduced to the Senate earlier this year.
The bill, if passed, would require the US government to engage with other nations to support Taiwan’s diplomatic recognition and strengthen unofficial ties with Taiwan.
Rubio made a similar statement in a separate tweet, in which he criticized the Solomon Islands’ “shameful” decision.
“It’s shameful that the Solomon Islands is bending to Beijing’s pressure to sever ties with Taiwan. Congress should pass the TAIPEI Act and send a strong message that the US will not stay silent as the Chinese govt aggressively moves to isolate Taiwan,” he said on Twitter.
The draft legislation authorizes the US Department of State to downgrade US ties with any government that takes adverse actions with regard to Taiwan, and allows the department to suspend or adjust US foreign assistance to governments that take such actions.
The bill says that the US government should also help Taiwan gain permission to participate in international organizations, either as a member or an observer, and express its support for Taiwan’s international participation when it interacts with Beijing.
Since its reintroduction, the bill has been read twice and was referred to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in May, but no progress has been made since.
Taiwan would be happy to see further developments on the proposed legislation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of North American Affairs Director Vincent Yao (姚金祥) told a news conference yesterday, expressing appreciation for Gardner’s and Rubio’s support.
Taipei and Washington maintain close communication and cooperation through the Global Cooperation and Training Framework and the recently established Indo-Pacific Democratic Governance Consultations, Yao said.
Republican US representatives Ted Yoho and Michael McCaul also expressed disappointment over the severance of ties.
“Disappointed to see one of the largest nations in the Pacific choose #China’s Belt and Road to serfdom over Taiwan, a longstanding democratic ally and friend,” McCaul said on Twitter.
Asked to comment on Taiwan losing yet another diplomatic ally to China, former American Institute in Taiwan chairman Richard Bush said that it is not really a “fair fight,” but added that it is debatable whether stealing more diplomatic allies from Taipei is an effective means for Beijing in its ongoing suppression of Taiwan.
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