Thu, Nov 28, 2019 - Page 3 News List

US senator to propose bill to drop ban on Taiwan’s flag

Staff writer, with CNA, Washington

US Senator Ted Cruz is soon to propose a bill that would reverse a ban on Taiwanese diplomats and military personnel displaying Taiwan’s national flag on US government property.

“Cruz is working on legislation with his colleagues that would allow diplomats and service members in the Taiwanese military to display their flag and wear their uniforms while in the US on official business,” a spokesman for the US senator said on Monday. “It’s important for the US and the rest of the world to stand alongside Taiwan and refuse to be bullied by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The comments were made in response to a Central News Agency (CNA) inquiry, after a former US senior advisor to the Trump administration, Christian Whiton, said on Friday that Cruz is drafting legislation to get rid of some US restrictions on Taiwan under its “one China” policy.

A source familiar with the matter told CNA that the bill titled The Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act, or Taiwan SOS Act, would direct the US Department of State and the Department of Defense to authorize diplomats and military members from Taiwan to display their national flag at US government venues.

In effect, it directs the US Department of State to remove US government guidelines from 2015 that prohibit all symbols of Taiwan sovereignty from being displayed on US premises, the source said.

The guidelines are considered confidential administration policy that cannot be provided to the US Congress, but can be seen by congressional staffers on a read-and-return basis with a US Department of State employee present, the source said.

The policy has been interpreted by the US Department of Defense to include military uniforms that include Taiwan’s flag or the name “Republic of China.”

The 2015 guidelines stemmed from an incident in January of that year when Taiwan’s representative office in the US raised Taiwan’s flag at Twin Oaks Estate, the former residence of Taiwanese ambassadors to the US. The flag-raising ceremony was the first one held in public since Taiwan and the US ended official diplomatic relations in 1979.

Facing strong protests from the Chinese embassy, the administration of former US president Barack Obama released the guidelines to forbid Taiwanese diplomats from entering US Department of State facilities, prohibit the raising of Taiwan’s flag at Twin Oaks and restrict any display of the flag on US government property, the source said.

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