The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked US President Donald Trump for signing legislation friendly toward Taiwan, while saying it is watching US-China interactions closely, after Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) reportedly told Trump he was concerned about the US’ friendliness toward Taipei.
With funding of US$738 billion, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 was signed into law by Trump on Friday, after it was passed by the US Senate on Tuesday and the US House of Representatives on Wednesday last week.
The act requires the US director of national intelligence to deliver a report on Beijing’s interference campaigns targeting Taiwan’s elections and US responses to such campaigns within 45 days of an election in Taiwan.
The Pentagon and the US Department of State are required to present reports within 180 days of the act’s implementation on reviewing the US’ Taiwan Relations Act and on Beijing’s influence over Taiwan’s security and economy as well as the cross-strait balance.
It also requires the US secretary of defense to submit a report on establishing a high-level interagency US-Taiwan group to tackle new cybersecurity issues within 180 days of the act taking effect.
Taiwan thanked Trump’s administration and the US Congress for their consistent support and commitment to Taiwan’s security, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement yesterday.
In the face of escalating tensions in the region, Taiwan would continue to accelerate its investment in national defense to boost its self-defense capabilities, she said.
Before signing the bill, Trump had talked with Xi, who reportedly raised concerns about the US’ attitude toward Taiwan.
“Had a very good talk with President Xi of China concerning our giant Trade Deal. China has already started large scale purchaes [sic] of agricultural product & more. Formal signing being arranged. Also talked about North Korea, where we are working with China, & Hong Kong (progress!),” Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency yesterday confirmed the telephone call, but said that Xi had also broached the topic of Taiwan.
“We have expressed serious concern over the US’ passive remarks and deeds in issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet, which interfered in China’s internal affairs, damaged China’s interests and might hinder bilateral cooperation,” Xi was quoted as saying.
Xinhua quoted Trump as saying he believes that the US and China could handle discrepancies and continue to maintain ties.
Ou said that the US has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to Taiwan and approved five arms sale packages during Trump’s administration.
The ministry has been closely watching interactions between high-level US and Chinese officials, while maintaining diverse and smooth communication channels with the US, she added.
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